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Image Guided Radiation Therapy in Latham, NY. Now Fighting Cancer Using Fast and Precise RapidArc(TM) Radiotherapy Technology

Patient calls it a 'miracle'

LATHAM, N.Y., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Clinicians from the Image Guided Radiation Therapy program at Community Care Physicians in Latham have commenced treating cancer patients using RapidArc(TM) radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), an advancement that delivers a highly-precise image-guided, intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatment in two minutes or less.

RapidArc treatments spare healthy tissue and other vital organs in the body by adapting to the shape and size of a patient's tumor. These treatments can be completed more quickly than conventional image guide IMRT because they are delivered with a single continuous rotation of the radiotherapy machine around the patient rather than treating the tumor from fixed positions.

Donald Shorkey, 71, an early-stage prostate cancer patient, was the first person to receive RapidArc treatments through this program. "I was immensely relieved when the doctors and nurses explained to me and my wife that RapidArc treatments focus just on the tumor."

"Earlier technology for radiotherapy limited the number of angles we could use for striking at a tumor," said Arun Puranik, MD, director of the Image Guided Radiation Therapy program. "With RapidArc technology, we are seeing excellent treatment plans that permit us to target the tumor from nearly every angle in a 360-degree circle around the patient. The impressive thing is that, when we use RapidArc to target the tumor from more angles, we can deliver a treatment using less radiation. And it only takes two minutes."

The Image Guided Radiation Therapy program at Community Care Physicians was one of the earliest adopters of IGRT technology, and began offering image-guided IMRT treatments for prostate cancer back in August 2005. "The vast majority of our patients since then have had no complications, following treatment," Puranik says. "I couldn't imagine how we would improve on that. But with RapidArc, we have! We can get the same results two to eight times faster than was possible with our earlier technology."

By completing highly-precise IMRT treatment so much faster, Puranik says, his clinical team members can spend more time with patients or completing administrative tasks. "Whereas we generally treated four patients each hour, RapidArc is making it possible for us to treat up to five patients an hour, with plenty of time in between appointments. Having extra time for administrative tasks will help us ensure that charges are captured correctly, and cut back on time-consuming billing errors."

Shorkey is now finishing his third week of a nine-week course of radiotherapy, and reports that, to his surprise, he doesn't feel anything during the treatments. "I've been pleased with the thoughtful and efficient care I've been getting at Image Guided Radiation Therapy," he said. "I'm in the treatment room for only about five minutes per session. Because I live so close to the care center, I'm only away from home about an hour each day. The doctors told me that I was one of the very first patients in the Northeast to receive treatments using this technology. I think it's wonderful that people are inventing these devices. It's a miracle as far as I'm concerned."

The American Cancer Society estimates that, in the state of New York this year, there will be 97,130 new cases of cancer, and 10,500 new cases of prostate cancer.

About Image Guided Radiation Therapy, Latham, NY.

Image Guided Radiation Therapy is a physician owned, physician governed multi-specialty medical group with more than 180 physicians and other clinical providers, located in 5 counties surrounding the Albany, New York greater Capital District. Community Care Physicians medical services include Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Laboratory, General Surgery, Urology, Dermatology, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Audiology, Occupational Medicine, Urgent Care, Diabetic Education and Travel Medicine. For more information about Community Care Physicians, PC contact Eileen Michaels, at 518-782-3743.

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


Robert Desjardins, RTT, MBA

Administrative Director, Image Guided Radiation Therapy

518-213-0302 or

John Worlton, Varian Medical Systems

650-424-6438 or

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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