Mass General Hospital

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Name of Treatment Program: Pediatric Radiation Oncology

Short description: MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Department of Radiation Oncology provides radiation therapy to treat a variety of tumors in children using the most current techniques available.

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Meet the Team

The goal of radiation therapy is to destroy or shrink tumor cells without damaging surrounding healthy tissue. Each radiation plan is custom designed for each patient in order to target the tumor with maximum sparing of healthy tissue. At Mass General we have access to many types of radiation including photons, electrons, and protons. Proton therapy is the most common form of radiation used to treat pediatric patients at Mass General.

An integral part of one of the world’s most distinguished medical centers, Mass General’s Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center represents the forefront of technological advances in radiation therapy coupled with expert, comprehensive, and compassionate family-centered care.

Proton radiation therapy is unique, because more than any other type of radiation, protons allow radiation to be directed to a very limited area, which reduces potential damage to nearby, healthy tissues. This is particularly useful for children where long-term effects on growth and development are very important. Children’s bodies are more vulnerable to the effects of radiation, so any healthy tissue that can be spared becomes vital.

In addition to Proton Therapy, MassGeneral Hospital for Children also provides state-of-the-art stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT) and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). In any type of radiation, our radiation oncologists work with clinical physicists to bring the latest technological developments to our patients. Treatment plans are created using the most advanced computing and imaging techniques. Clinicians, radiation oncologists and physicists have access to a complete array of devices to carefully administer radiation to “target tissues” while minimizing radiation exposure to uninvolved tissue.

Multidisciplinary Treatment for Complex Diagnoses

We understand that having a sick child is stressful for the child, parents, and other family members. It is our goal to provide the highest quality care, while considering the unique needs of children with cancer and their families. For this reason, we have a multidisciplinary team approach.  Our experienced and dynamic team includes specialists in pediatric oncology, pediatric radiation oncology, pediatric surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric neuroradiology, pediatric neurology, pediatric nursing, social work, child life, and other support staff.

State-of-the-Art Facilities in a World-Renowned Academic Medical Center

The Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital is the original proton therapy center in the United States. The proton radiation program builds on more than forty years of pioneering work and experience gained by physicians, physicists, researchers and clinical support staff at Harvard University’s Cyclotron Laboratory. In the 1960’s, the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory was one of the world’s first facilities to explore the use of protons in the treatment of patients with cancer. More than 9,000 patients were treated from 1961 to it’s closing in 2002. Fully operational in 2001, the new proton facility, the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center, was made possible by funding from Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Cancer Institute.

Conditions Treated

Treatment is available for pediatric brain tumors including:

As well as other pediatric tumors including:

Compassionate, Family-Centered Care

At MassGeneral Hospital for Children, we know that the time of your child’s diagnosis and treatment is a very stressful one, and we strive to provide an open, welcoming environment. We believe that no one knows a child as well as the parent does: parents, along with primary care providers, become our partners in a child's care and have an active voice in all treatment plans.

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Condition: Bone Cancers - 69,Brain Tumors - 70,Ewing Sarcoma - 166,Giant Cell Tumor - 188,Hodgkin's Disease - 226,Osteosarcoma - 336

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Spotlights: Refer a patient - 1226, Family-centered care - 1234, Partners HealthCare Patient Gateway - 1311

Contact: MGHfC Radiation Oncology - 1684