Radiation Therapy

Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in the Delaware Valley and Florida

Radiation Therapy Locations

 
Wilmington, Del.

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
Get Map & Directions »
Learn More About This Location »

For Appointments: (800) 416-4441


Pediatric Radiation Therapy Highlights

Our radiation therapy highlights include:

  • pediatric cancer care that ranks among the best in the nation (by U.S. News & World Report®)
  • advanced, state-of-the-art pediatric radiation technologies offered in collaboration with Christiana Hospital’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center
  • care managed by a dedicated pediatric radiation oncologist who participates in our cancer meetings
  • therapies that include two-dimensional radiation therapy, three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy, proton therapy (referral to another facility), high-dose rate brachytherapy, low-dose rate brachytherapy and total body irradiation
  • compassionate nurse coordinators and social workers who provide treatment education, tips to manage side effects, and resources for your child and family
  • standard of care and clinical trial participation as part of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) (the world's largest organization devoted exclusively to pediatric cancer research)
Support Services for Your Family

Nemours provides an array of support services to help your child and family throughout the entire journey. Our supportive care begins on the very first day we meet, and continues beyond treatment because at Nemours, your child and family become part of our own.

Our services include: 

  • patient and family education
  • mental health counseling
  • support groups
  • survivorship programs
  • transition of care

Learn More About all of Our Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Facilities and Services in Delaware »

 
Orlando, Fla.

Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando

13535 Nemours Parkway
Orlando, FL 32827
Get Map & Directions »
Learn More About This Location »

For Appointments: (407) 650-7715


Pediatric Radiation Therapy Highlights

Our radiation therapy highlights include:

  • advanced, state-of-the-art pediatric radiation technologies offered in collaboration with the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando
  • care managed by a dedicated pediatric radiation oncologist who participates in our cancer meetings
  • therapies that include two-dimensional radiation therapy, three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), helical tomotherapy which is considered the most advanced form of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy, proton therapy (referral to the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute), high-dose rate brachytherapy, low-dose rate brachytherapy and total body irradiation
  • compassionate nurse coordinators and social workers who provide treatment education, tips to manage side effects, and resources for your child and family
  • standard of care and clinical trial participation as part of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) (the world's largest organization devoted exclusively to pediatric cancer research)
Support Services for Your Family

Nemours provides an array of support services to help your child and family throughout the entire journey. Our supportive care begins on the very first day we meet, and continues beyond treatment because at Nemours, your child and family become part of our own.

Our services include:

  • patient and family education
  • social work
  • mental health counseling
  • support groups
  • survivorship programs
  • transition of care

Learn More About All of Our Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Facilities and Services in Orlando »

 
Jacksonville, Fla.

Nemours Children's Specialty Care, Jacksonville

807 Children’s Way
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Get Map & Directions »

For Appointments: (904) 697-3789

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Learn More About This Location »


Pediatric Radiation Therapy Highlights

Together with Wolfson Children’s Hospital, our radiation therapy highlights include:

  • advanced, state-of-the-art pediatric radiation technologies offered in collaboration with the First Radiation Oncology Group (FROG)
  • care managed by a dedicated pediatric radiation oncologist who participates in our cancer meetings
  • therapies that include two-dimensional radiation therapy, three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy, proton therapy (referral to the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute), high-dose rate brachytherapy, low-dose rate brachytherapy and total body irradiation
  • compassionate nurse coordinators and social workers provide treatment education, tips to manage side effects, and resources for your child and family
  • standard of care and clinical trial participation as part of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) (the world's largest organization devoted exclusively to pediatric cancer research)
Support Services for Your Family

Nemours provides an array of support services to help your child and family throughout the entire journey. Our supportive care begins on the very first day we meet, and continues beyond treatment because at Nemours, your child and family become part of our own.

Our services include: 

  • patient and family education
  • social work
  • mental health counseling
  • support groups
  • survivorship programs
  • transition of care

Learn More About All of Our Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Facilities and Services in Jacksonville »

 
Pensacola, Fla.

Nemours Children's Specialty Care, Pensacola

5153 N. Ninth Ave.
Pensacola, FL 32504
Get Map & Directions »

For Appointments: (850) 505-4790

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time)
Learn More About This Location »


Pediatric Radiation Therapy Highlights

Our radiation therapy highlights include:

  • advanced state-of-the-art pediatric radiation therapy technologies offered in collaboration with Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart
  • care managed by a dedicated pediatric radiation oncologist who participates in our cancer meetings
  • therapies that include two-dimensional radiation radiology, three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy, proton therapy (referral to the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute), high-dose rate brachytherapy, low-dose rate brachytherapy and total body irradiation
  • compassionate nurse coordinators and social workers who provide treatment education, tips to manage side effects, and resources for your child and family
  • standard of care and clinical trial participation as part of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) (the world's largest organization devoted exclusively to pediatric cancer research)
Support Services for Your Family

Nemours provides an array of support services to help your child and family throughout the entire journey. Our supportive care begins on the very first day we meet, and continues beyond treatment because at Nemours, your child and family become part of our own.

Our services include: 

  • patient and family education
  • social work
  • mental health counseling
  • support groups
  • survivorship programs
  • transition of care

Learn More About All of Our Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Facilities and Services in Pensacola »

About Radiation Therapy

A common childhood cancer treatment is radiation therapy, which uses high-energy X-rays, gamma rays or fast-moving subatomic particles to destroy cancer cells. At the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (or “NCCBD,” for short), we use the latest radiation technologies and techniques to provide the safest, most effective radiation treatment for childhood cancer.


How Radiation Therapy Works

Radiation therapy works by damaging the genetic material (DNA) inside of cancer cells to keep them from dividing, or to kill them altogether. The goal is to destroy as many cells as possible to shrink the tumor (called “tumor regression”), while minimizing long-term injury to the adjacent tissues or organs.

Radiation therapy is an effective primary treatment for childhood cancers such as brain tumors (medulloblastoma), lymphomas, bone tumors, kidney tumors and liver tumors (hepatoblastoma). It’s also used with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery or immunotherapy, and can be prescribed to control cancer and improve life quality (called “palliative care”).


Types of Radiation Therapy for Childhood Cancer

Pediatric radiation oncologists (cancer doctors specializing in radiation) and their teams of highly trained specialists at the Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders develop a customized radiation plan based on cancer type, location, treatments and other factors.

There are generally four types of radiation therapy at our disposal:

1) External Beam Radiation Therapy

Conventional external beam radiation delivers a beam of X-ray energy from a sophisticated machine (called a “linear accelerator”) to the tumor site. Treating childhood cancer with external radiation involves small doses (called “fractions”) to keep damage to healthy cells at a minimum.

More advanced radiation therapies — including three-dimensional (3-D) conformational radiation (3-DCRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT/IGRT),  stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) — involve using targeted approaches to precisely control the amount, intensity and even the shape of radiation beams, which reduces the amount of damage to nearby healthy cells and maximizes treatment effectiveness.

 
Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy

Three-dimensional conformational radiation therapy (3DCRT) uses powerful computers, 3-D imaging and software to shape the radiation beams to precisely match the shape of the tumor. This type of radiation delivers much higher levels of radiation to destroy tumors, while completely avoiding the surrounding tissue —making it a good treatment option for kidney tumors, lymphomas and leukemias.

 
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy

Intensity-modulation radiation therapy (IMRT) uses three-dimensional CT (or “CAT”) scan imaging and computer technology to control (or “modulate”) the intensity of radiation levels to specific cancer sites. Different from conventional techniques that deliver radiation in straight lines, radiation oncologists can use IMRT to deliver higher radiation doses in segments to more accurately target tumors with less damage to surrounding tissues.

IMRT is performed using a sophisticated system called a “multi-leaf collimator” (MLC), which allows for very precise dose shaping (called “conformality”) for irregularly-shaped tumors, particularly those that are curved. IMRT is used in tumors of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), head, neck and pelvis, as well as other sites where precise dose shaping is warranted.

 
Image-Guided Radiotherapy Therapy

Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) uses frequent imaging to guide very precise radiation beams to cancer sites. IGRT allows radiation oncologists to monitor changing tumor shape and size during treatment to ensure radiation is being delivered to the exact location throughout the course of treatment. Typical image guidance techniques include cone beam CT (CBCT), stereoscopic X-rays and ultrasound.

Image-guided radiotherapy is helpful in treating cancers near essential organs like the heart, as well as cancers that can be impacted by movement. IGRT is sometimes referred to by the type of machines used. All of our linear accelerators have advanced CBCT technologies.

 
Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) use highly concentrated radiation beams to treat tumors in areas of the body that are hard to reach (such as brain tumors, liver tumors and tumors in the head, neck and spine) or near essential organs that should not be in the line of radiation. Contrary to the name, this treatment is non-invasive (meaning there are no incisions). Stereotactic radiosurgery is also often referred to by the type of technology used, such as CyberKnife®, which is available within our network.


2) Proton Therapy

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses subatomic particles instead of X-rays. Like radiation therapy, proton therapy works by damaging the genetic material (DNA) inside of cancer cells to keep them from dividing, or killing them altogether. The difference is that proton energy delivers more radiation to the exact site, with less risk of healthy cell damage than with X-ray energy.

This means doctors can prescribe a higher radiation dose to the tumor site while sparing even more normal tissue in the process.

Learn More About Proton Therapy Treatment at Nemours »


3) Internal Beam Radiation Therapy (Brachytherapy)

Also called “brachytherapy,” internal beam radiation therapy is delivered through radioactive sources inside the body (tiny seeds, thin wires, small tubes or pellets) that are surgically implanted (permanently or temporarily) to deliver high-dose radiation straight to the cancer site.

This type of therapy, which causes fewer side effects and shorter treatment times, is administered in the hospital over a course of several days.

 
Types of Brachytherapy Treatments
  • intracavity treatment (when the implants are inserted inside a body cavity, such as the abdomen or windpipe)
  • interstitial treatment (when the implants are inserted directly into the tumor or cancerous tissue)
  • low-dose rate (LDR) and high-dose rate (HDR) treatment (when implants are placed temporarily into the area and removed after a short time — this can be a few minutes a day for HDR or as long as a week for LDR)

4) Systemic Radiation Therapy

Systemic radiation therapy introduces radioactive drugs, referred to as “radiopharmaceuticals,” into the blood stream (either through a pill or an injection) to reach cancer cells all over the body. Also called “systemic radioisotope therapy” or “unsealed internal therapy,” this type of therapy is used to treat certain cancers such as lymphoma and cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the bone. Systemic radiation therapy is administered in the hospital for close follow-up and care.

What to Expect With Radiation Therapy

Conventional radiation treatments are delivered five days each week, for several weeks, depending on the tumor type. The treatment itself is much like having a regular X-ray and only takes a few minutes. Treatments are painless and there are no side effects on a day-to-day basis.


Effects of Radiation in Children

At Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, we’re committed to providing the safest, most effective treatment protocols. However, radiation therapy can destroy nearby healthy cells during the process of destroying cancer cells, sometimes causing radiation side effects. Healthy, normal (non-cancerous) cells can repair themselves after radiation, which is why we deliver the therapy in fractions to allow time for normal cells to heal.

Side effects depend on the part of the body treated, the amount of radiation, duration of treatment and other factors. Your Nemours care team will provide ongoing care to provide comfort and healing if side effects occur, including:

  • skin damage
  • hair loss at the site of the radiation
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • anemia (low red blood cells)

Late Effects of Radiation in Children

Cancer survivors may experience side effects that develop after radiation treatment (called “late effects”). It’s important to continue follow-up care so we can monitor and treat symptoms and conditions that may arise after treatment. Some late effects of radiation in children include:

  • fibrosis (scar tissue causing limited movement)
  • damage to the bowels
  • problems with bone growth
  • learning disabilities
  • infertility
  • risk of another cancer
  • cardiac injury

Resources

 
Informative Articles & Videos for Parents From Nemours’ KidsHealth
 
Radiation Therapy Resources & Information

Appointments & Referrals

Delaware, Pennsylvania & New Jersey

(800) 416-4441


Florida
Jacksonville Area

(904) 697-3789

Orlando Area

(407) 650-7715

Pensacola Area

(850) 505-4790

Learn About Our Locations »


International
Patients

+1 (302) 651-4993

View Videos

See how our comprehensive care and research impact the children and families we treat: