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More than 12,000 children and teens are diagnosed with cancer each year. Thanks to ever more advanced and targeted treatments, the majority of these children and adolescents can look forward to long and healthy adult lives.
Because children and teens are diagnosed with a wide range of types of cancer, the radiation oncology team at Johns Hopkins that treats pediatric patients will choose the type of treatment most likely to target that particular cancer while preserving healthy tissue and surrounding organs as well as minimizing long-term side effects.
“We are the only dedicated pediatric radiation oncology facility in the region,” notes Stephanie Terezakis, MD, a specialist in pediatric radiation oncology. “With a dedicated team that specializes not only in pediatric oncology clinical care but also in research that enables us to improve our care, we can offer our patients both compassionate care and the best available treatment.”
“We are also able to offer patients and their families clinical trials that may offer them the best possible radiation treatment and the ability to advance treatments for all pediatric cancer patients,” Dr. Terezakis adds.
Types of radiation treatment
The general types of radiation therapy used for children and teens include:
- External beam radiation includes 3D conformal radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT).
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy, or SBRT, delivers high doses of radiation at the same time that it spares nearby tissues and organs.
The type of treatment patients receive will depend on the type of cancer and condition. Through our clinical research, we offer our patients the most effective and safest therapies available, in addition to clinical trials that patients can choose to participate in.
Specialized radiation therapy for pediatric cancer
Radiation oncology for pediatric patients is a specialized field and demands the highest degree of expertise and experience to ensure the health and safety of patients, now and into the future, and to create a safe place for treatment for the patients and their families. The Johns Hopkins Department of Radiation Oncology offers:
Experience: An experienced radiation oncology team specializes in the treatment of pediatric cancers. As part of a larger multi-disciplinary oncology team that consultatively diagnoses and treats cancer, our team of radiation oncology specialists, including physicians, medical physicists, dosimetrists, nurses, and therapists, creates an individualized radiation therapy plan developed for the patient’s specific needs.
Safety: The safety and well being of our patients and their families are always the primary concern of every member of the radiation oncology team. We have developed a comprehensive safety program that is unique to Johns Hopkins. As an international leader in radiation safety, our standards for safety serve as an example for other academic and community-based radiation practices. Our safety program not only complies with state and national protocols, it goes well beyond those protocols by integrating innovative safety techniques developed by experts on our staff.
A family-friendly environment: We understand the stress that a diagnosis of cancer for a child can create in a family. And we have seen how traumatizing it can be for child and parents alike to come in for the necessary treatments. That’s why we strive to create an atmosphere in our treatment rooms that calms children and reassures their parents.
The radiation therapist takes the time to get to know the patient and parents and lets the child (and the parents) get an up-close look at the machine that will be used before the treatment happens. Patients and their families get a walk-through of the process so that everyone is at ease and comfortable. A playroom helps children feel at home.
To find out more about radiation oncology at Johns Hopkins, call 410-502-8000 or e-mail email@example.com.