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Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses beams of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors inside the body.

Treating Brain Tumors with Radiation

When a child is treated with radiation therapy, a machine aims a beam of high-energy radiation through the skin at a small part of the brain or a large area of the brain and spine to kill cancer cells inside the body. The level of radiation your child may receive depends on the kind of brain tumor, where the tumor is located, and how old your child is.

Some younger children may need sedation (medicine to help them sleep) to help them stay still during radiation treatment.

While radiation is good at killing brain tumors, it can also damage normal tissues, especially in growing children. Radiation to a child’s brain can change how well they learn, and it can cause damage that may last a long time.

Because of this, your child’s treatment team will be very careful when recommending this treatment.

Talking to Your Child About Radiation

Age-appropriate videos can help parents and caregivers talk with children about cancer. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Imaginary Friend Society is a series of short, animated videos that talk about cancer-related topics in a kid-friendly way. In the following video, Walter and Gus make an unlikely team of imaginary friends and explain radiation.


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