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Radiotherapy in Children

Cancers in children are different from adults. Leukemias, lymphomas, brain tumors and solid tumors with embryologic origin are common with a variety of subtypes. Most pediatric cancers are curable having survival rates around 70-80% with proper treatment. Cure from cancer in childhood adds at least 50-60 years to life, which means late effects, quality of life of the patients, and their integration to society are as important as cure. Radiotherapy plays a significant role in the treatment of pediatric cancers; however pediatric radiotherapy is a challenge for the radiation oncologist. Radiation may have detrimental effects on the growing child, thus radiation dose limits are much lower than in adults, and radiation is always combined with chemotherapy, which requires good collaboration with paediatric oncologists. Anesthesia and proper positioning are essential in small children during simulation and treatment, with a need of extra staff and effort. Planning radiation fields needs maximum care to keep the doses to critical organs as low as possible.