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Decatur Memorial Hospital Becomes First in Illinois to Treat Cancer Patients With RapidArc(TM) Radiotherapy Technology

Sophisticated prostate cancer treatment delivered in less than 90 seconds

using new technology from Varian Medical Systems

DECATUR, Ill., June 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Decatur Memorial Hospital became the first medical center in Illinois, and the third in the United States, to treat a cancer patient using RapidArc(TM) radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR). John Hosler, an 85-year-old prostate cancer patient, received his treatment in just under 90 seconds -- a treatment that would have taken 15-20 minutes using earlier treatment methods.

"I was impressed with how quickly the treatment was delivered," said Hosler, who performs a regimen of 100 push ups and 100 sits ups every day and was pleased to be one of the first patients in the world to receive a RapidArc treatment, "I like knowing that I am doing something to help others in the future," he said.

"The treatment went very well," said Mary Anne de Paz, MD, Hosler's radiation oncologist. "RapidArc gives us the ability to deliver a highly accurate treatment in a very short timeframe. This convenience is especially important when treating elderly patients, who often have trouble lying still for long periods of time."

"Prostate cancer treatments are typically delivered five days a week over a period of eight weeks, so a savings of 12 minutes or more each day really adds up for our patients," says John Ridley, director of radiation oncology at Decatur Memorial. "With RapidArc, the time they must spend immobilized in the treatment room is reduced by up to eight hours over an entire course of treatment."

RapidArc delivers advanced image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatments two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT or helical tomotherapy. The treatments are delivered with just one 360 degree rotation of the treatment machine around the patient.

"We believe that this technology will become the preferred method for treating many types of cancer with doses that match the shape and size of the tumor," said Sharon McMillian, MS, DABR, medical physicist. "In comparisons that we ran, our RapidArc treatment plans for prostate cancer looked better than conventional IMRT plans, in terms of tumor coverage."

RapidArc Technology

RapidArc treatments are created using Varian's Eclipse(TM) treatment planning software and delivered using either a Clinac(R) or Trilogy(TM) linear accelerator, a machine that rotates around the patient to deliver the treatment beam from virtually any angle. A device with a computer-controlled aperture is used to shape the treatment beam so that it matches the shape and size of the tumor. Proprietary RapidArc software varies the speed of rotation around the patient, the dimensions of the beam-shaping aperture, and the rate of dose delivery in order to target the tumor and avoids the surrounding healthy tissues.

"We are very excited about providing our patients with the benefits of this latest advance in cancer treatment," said Ridley. "We firmly believe that RapidArc is a superior technology that extends the versatility of our image-guided radiotherapy system, so that we can offer our patients the best care available."

About Decatur Memorial Hospital

Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH) has been providing medical care since 1916, for the residents of central Illinois. DMH encompasses twelve state-of-the-art Centers of Excellence which focus on the cutting edge of medicine today. By combining a highly trained staff of professionals with the latest advancements in technology, DMH furthers its mission of improving the health of the people of central Illinois.

About Varian Medical Systems

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 4,600 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit


Meryl Ginsberg, Varian Medical Systems

650-424-6444 or

Mike Cassell, Marketing Director

Decatur Memorial Hospital

217-876-3232 or

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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