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Radiation therapy for childhood Hodgkin lymphoma
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. It is usually used to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). The healthcare team will consider your child’s needs to plan the type and amount of radiation, and when and how it is given. Your child may also receive other treatments.
Radiation therapy is to destroy cancer cells in the body.
Children with HL are usually given radiation therapy after chemotherapy. Childhood HL is treated with external beam radiation therapy.
External beam radiation therapy
During external beam radiation therapy, a machine directs radiation through the skin to the tumour and some of the tissue around it. For childhood HL, radiation is given to only one or a few areas of lymph node known to have cancer. This is called involved field radiation therapy (IFRT). It uses the smallest radiation field possible, which can help lower the risk of late effects. Doctors will sometimes give an extra dose of radiation to bulky tumours.
Radiation therapy is usually given Monday to Friday. For a few minutes each day, radiation is directed at lymph nodes that have cancer. Radiation therapy usually lasts 2–4 weeks.
Radiation therapy may also be used before stem cell transplant. External beam radiation therapy is given to the entire body. This is called total body irradiation, or TBI.
Questions to ask about radiation therapy
Establishing a national caregivers strategy
The Canadian Cancer Society is actively lobbying the federal government to establish a national caregivers strategy to ensure there is more financial support for this important group of people.