Radiation Therapy (Pediatric)

Radiation therapy (also referred to as radiation oncology) is a type of cancer treatment that involves the use of the use of high-energy radiation, primarily X-rays, to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.  Radiation is often used in conjunction with other cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant, depending on each child’s specific diagnosis.

At C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, our fellowship-trained pediatric radiation oncologist specializes in providing this type of treatment to children, with a child-friendly approach customized to the small, developing bodies of children and young adults.  We have extensive experience treating both common and very rare forms of childhood cancers with radiation therapy.

As one of the nation’s top pediatric cancer programs, we offer families both long-established conventional approaches as well as many of the most advanced methods available at only a handful of elite cancer centers in the nation.  Our state-of-the-art services offered include:

  • Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT) including radiosurgery
  • Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
  • Full body radiation therapy

The University of Michigan was one of the first institutions in the world to utilize more advanced radiation planning techniques such as 3D conformal and IMRT.  We have consistently been pioneers in the development of innovative radiation treatments and remain at the forefront of this development. We developed our own computer software for intensity modulated radiation therapy, have been treating patients with stereotactic radiosurgery for more than 15 years, and have an established stereotactic body radiation program.

Integrated, convenient care

For your convenience, all radiation therapy services are provided at the University of Michigan Medical Campus in Ann Arbor and your radiation oncologist works seamlessly with other members of your treatment team to ensure full integrated, comprehensive care.  This includes a dedicated pediatric anesthesia team to provide sedation or anesthesia as needed for the youngest patients who require sedation during treatment.

Safety is our priority

Our safety record for the administration of radiation is unsurpassed and our faculty includes nationally recognized experts in the safe delivery of radiation therapy.   We use approaches that target tumors as precisely as possible, ensuring maximum impact where it’s needed and less damage to normal tissue nearby. Our goal is always to deliver the most effective disease control possible with minimal short- or long-term side effects. 

Family-centered care focused on a child’s unique needs

We know that your child’s treatment can be stressful to the entire family, and we strive to provide an open, welcoming environment. Parents are involved in their child’s treatment as active partners in their child's care and have a voice in all treatment plans.

Although radiation therapy typically is not painful, we know that the equipment can be intimidating for many children.  C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital offers child-life specialists to help explain to you and your child what to expect during your procedure, to minimize anxiety about the procedure and help them be prepared for the experience.   When necessary, our pediatric anesthesiologists provide sedation to help younger children remain calm and comfortable throughout their treatment.