Physicians in New York target prostate cancer with Varian system

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Clinicians at Community Care Physicians of Latham, New York, is using combined technologies in a single machine from Varian Medical Systems to give patients image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) treatment for prostate cancer that is able to precisely locate tumors during treatment.

In the new system, radiation is delivered using a Varian Clinac linear accelerator equipped with the company's On-Board Imager device for imaging and tumor tracking.

According to Arun Puranik, MD, director of Community Care Physicians IGRT department, he is able to make fast corrections to patient positions prior to treatment sessions, based on the images generated by the Varian IGRT imaging system.

"There is always a correction because there is always some displacement of the prostate from day to day -- anywhere from as little as 2-3 millimeters up to 11/2 centimeters," Puranik said.

"That's a lot of motion from day to day, and before now, we had no way to deal with it." Improved patient care has been a big bonus, Puranik said, adding that "We can generate the images, use them to reposition the patient and still complete the treatment within a normal treatment appointment in a highly efficient process."

The Varian system can be used for image-guided radiation therapy to treat other forms of cancer as well, including the head, neck, or lung, for instance, by using the IGRT technology to look at anatomical landmarks near the tumor.