January 15, 2008 - Cancer patients in Estonia now have access to advanced radiotherapy techniques— including intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)— with the official unveiling shortly before Christmas of an advanced Varian Medical Systems treatment machine at the North Estonia Regional Hospital in the country's capital, Tallinn.

North Estonia Regional Hospital, which serves two-thirds of Estonia's 1.4 million population, has doubled its linear accelerator capacity with the acquisition of a Varian Clinac DHX equipped with a Millennium 120-leaf collimator, enabling more conformal radiotherapy treatment

This workload increased shortly after the new machine arrived, when an older device at the only other Estonian radiotherapy hospital broke down and all that hospital's patients were transferred to the North Estonian Regional Hospital. "At present we are the only hospital in the country treating patients with a linear accelerator and we are extremely busy," said Dr. Maire Kuddu, chief radiation oncologist. Staff at the hospital are working double-shift on both machines as they attempt to cope with more than 130 patients a day.

Despite this heavy workload, the team has been able to introduce advanced IMRT for head and neck cancer patients. Intensity modulated radiotherapy enables clinicians to 'sculpt' the dose to the shape of the tumor and avoid more surrounding healthy tissue. For head and neck patients, it means more precise treatments and less potential harm to nearby salivary and parotid glands.

For more information: www.varian.com

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