When caring for children with cancer, we aim to ensure that the disease is accurately targeted while also minimizing exposure of normal tissues to radiation. The historical trends for pediatric radiotherapy have emphasized reducing the dose and volume of radiation delivery to the patient in a way that cure rates remain high, but the long-term effects of therapy are reasonably low.
Very young children, generally those less than four years of age, are often unable to cooperate with daily external radiation treatments. In such cases, pediatric anesthesiologists assist with outpatient sedation or general anesthesia. This allows children to sleep through therapy, maintaining radiotherapy precision and avoiding psychological trauma.
Children undergoing allogeneic stem cell or bone marrow transplantation for high-risk leukemia may require total body irradiation, which is also performed in the therapeutic radiology department.