Because children’s bodies are still growing and developing, pediatric tumors—especially those near the brain, head, neck, spinal cord, heart and lungs—are particularly challenging to treat with conventional radiation, which can be associated with significant toxicities.
Proton therapy largely prevents these sensitive areas from receiving any measurable dose of excess radiation. The result is fewer side effects during treatment and fewer long-term side effects than seen from conventional radiation including developmental abnormalities, growth delay, reduction in IQ and intelligence, and secondary cancers.
Childhood cancers we treat with proton radiation therapy include
- Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (AT/RTs)
- Ewing’s sarcomas
- Germ cell tumors
- Low- and high-grade gliomas, including juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas and optic pathway gliomas
- Lymphomas, including Hodgkin lymphoma
- Medulloblastomas and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs)
- Pituitary adenomas
- Tumors in the spine
- Recurrent tumors, including recurrent benign tumors