Is radiation coming back for cancer treatment?

Using computer technology to make radiation a valid treatment option for more patients may be one of the best cancer news stories of 2007.

radiation treatment for cancer from Varian SystemsChemotherapy sucks.

Ask any patient. Even those patients who are in remission, and thankful for chemotherapy, will tell you it's a hard way to cure cancer.

Radiation, which used to be mentioned in the same breath as chemo when discussing treatment options, may be making a comeback thanks to Varian Medical Systems. 

The FDA has just given Varian 510(k) clearance for the smart segmentation feature of its Eclipse radiation treatment system. (This means the device has been approved.) Version 8.1 of the software has just come out.

The idea behind Eclipse is to automate the process of guiding radiation to the cancer and avoiding nearby vital organs. This process, called contouring, is often done by hand and is prone to mistakes.

Eclipse unifies treatment in one database, blending CT scans into a 3D view that lets doctors pinpoint where radiation will go, even in a neck. (The image above is from Varian.)

This means radiation can be used in more cases, and it can be done more quickly, meaning you save money.

Using computer technology to make radiation a valid treatment option for more patients may be one of the best cancer news stories of 2007.