Treatment Programs

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Pediatric Radiation Oncology

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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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:

  • Medulloblastoma
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Ependymoma
  • Gliomas

As well as other pediatric tumors including:

  • Retinoblastoma
  • Pediatric bone and soft tissue sarcomas
  • Pediatric Chordomas

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.

Bone Cancers

There are different types of bone cancers, which are typically defined as a malignant (cancerous) tumor of the bone that destroys normal bone tissue.

Brain Tumors

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. The tumor can either originate in the brain itself, or come from another part of the body and travel to the brain (metastasize). Brain tumors may be classified as either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), depending on their behavior.

Ewing Sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma is a cancer that occurs primarily in the bone or soft tissue.

Giant Cell Tumor

A giant cell tumor is one that is made up of a large number of benign (non-cancerous) cells that form an aggressive tumor - usually near the end of the bone near a joint.

Hodgkin's Disease

Hodgkin disease is a type of lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system.

Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that develops in the osteoblast cells that form the outer covering of bone.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Going the distance

Crossing the finish line of a marathon is a feat in itself, but completing the race and supporting a good cause is a triumph times two.

Tommy's Story

Tommy McGraw, 8 years old, received Proton Beam Therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital after having a brain tumor removed at their hometown hospital, Seattle Children’s Hospital.

MGHfC Radiation Oncology

Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care
Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center
32 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-724-1836
Fax: 617-724-4808

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

Next Steps:

  • 617-724-1836
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Family-centered care

We respect that the family is the center of a child’s life and we welcome families to participate in every aspect of their child’s care.

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Partners HealthCare Patient Gateway

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