Childhood Malignancies

Fortunately, cancer is rare in children. However, solid tumors (not leukemia) can often grow rapidly and to a large size before initial detection. Surgical removal is recommended, unless prohibited by excessive dangers or risk of disability. Many childhood cancers respond well to chemotherapy, though some will also require radiation treatment. However, radiation delivery is especially challenging in children, due to the radiation sensitivity of growing tissues.

Since Tomotherapy can precisely target such tumors, while sparing adjacent structures, it is possible to limit dosage to growing tissues while treating inoperable cancers to effective doses. It is even possible to treat the entire brain and spinal cord to effective doses – as is sometimes required for certain tumors – while sufficiently sparing the bones of the spine and head to permit relatively normal growth, and markedly sparing dose to the more-anterior regions of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. As the Tomotherapy beam rotates around the child like a CT scanner, all children can be treated comfortably lying on their backs, rather than lying face down with conventional irradiation or even with many IMRT techniques.

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