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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.
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The goal of radiation therapy is to destroy or shrink tumor cells without damaging surrounding normal healthy tissue. Radiation therapy may be used to cure a cancer, to help keep it from spreading, or to help improve quality of life by relieving pain or other symptoms.
Radiation therapy is the use of x-rays to treat tumors. Different forms of x-rays including photons, electrons and protons can be used. These high energy x-ray beams get rid of tumors by causing a breakdown in the genetic structure or DNA of the cells. These cells are then permanently damaged and cannot repair themselves.
Multidisciplinary Treatment for Complex Diagnoses
Clinical care for a child diagnosed with cancer involves a multidisciplinary team approach. The team may include specialists in pediatric oncology, pediatric radiation oncology, pediatric surgery, pediatric neurosurgery, 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 most commonly used radiation treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for Children is proton therapy. The Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital is the original proton therapy center in the United States. 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.
Treatment is available for pediatric brain tumors including:
As well as other pediatric tumors including:
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.
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
Multidisciplinary Care Center:
Spotlights: Refer a patient - 1226, Family-centered care - 1234, Partners HealthCare Patient Gateway - 1311
Contact: MGHfC Radiation Oncology - 1684