Radiation therapy (also called radiation oncology) uses special kinds of energy waves or particles to fight cancer. Like surgery, radiation therapy is used in several ways depending on the type and location of the cancer. Certain levels of radiation work to destroy cancer cells or prevent cells from growing or reproducing. This treatment may provide a cure for cancer, control the disease, or help relieve its symptoms.
Although each hospital may have specific protocols, radiation therapy usually begins with these procedures:
Simulation process. After a physical examination and a review of your child's medical history, the treatment team "maps" out the position your child will be in for each treatment and the exact location on your child's body (referred to as treatment field or port) where the radiation will be given (the simulation process). Sometimes, the area on your child's body that requires treatment will be marked to make sure radiation is given properly. The treatment team may also make molds, headrests, or other devices that help to position your child during your treatment. Imaging studies may also be performed during the simulation process to help plan how to direct the radiation during treatments.
Treatment plan. Once the simulation process is completed, the radiation oncologist will determine your child's treatment plan, including the type of machine to use, the amount of radiation that is needed, and the number of treatments that will be given.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of radiation therapy for children?
What are the side effects of radiation therapy in children?
Departments that Offer Radiation
Radiation Oncology Program
Learn more about our collaborative Pediatric Radiation Oncology Program, which focuses on advancing pediatric clinical care and pediatric radiation oncology research.
Our oncology (cancer) team provides personalized treatment plans for children with cancer, including access to clinical trials.
Solid Tumor Program
Our Solid Tumor Program has a dedicated team of sarcoma experts who specialize in the newest treatments and clinical trials.