We know that you are going through an extremely hard time, but it is important for you be aware of all treatment options. If radiation therapy is appropriate for your child, you may want to use the most effective and gentlest method of contemporary medicine.
More than 80% of pediatric patients are successfully cured today. We are here to give your child a chance to reduce the possible side effects of radiation therapy through state-of-the-art proton therapy.
The treating oncologist, in cooperation with other specialists, will chose the optimal treatment procedure.
Below you will find important information and facts about proton therapy. Do not hesitate to contact us. You are not alone!
Every year, about 15,700 children and adolescents around the world are diagnosed with a malignant disease. Solid tumors account for about two-thirds, and leukemia for about one-third of all cancer cases.
Children’s tumors are more aggressive compared to tumors in adults, but on the other hand, they are more sensitive to irradiation and chemotherapy. The good news is that advances in treatment methods and technologies have significantly improved the therapeutic outcomes. Therefore, more than 80% of pediatric patients are successfully cured today. The type of treatment depends on the type of the disease, and treatments are often combined.
Irradiation is an essential part of treatment for a large part of solid tumors, but is rarely used in children’s hematological tumors (leukemias, lymphomas). Proton radiotherapy can be used in many situations instead of photon (“conventional”) irradiation, but this is not generally applicable in all situations. Likewise, it is not possible to replace proton irradiation with, for example, chemotherapy or surgery.
A pediatric oncologist is a doctor responsible for your child’s treatment, but they should consult with other specialists, since a combined treatment is usually required. A radiation oncologist is an important member of the team responsible for radiation therapy. This team will carefully evaluate all the circumstances so that your child gets the best possible treatment.
In some situations, irradiation is not appropriate and proton therapy cannot be offered.
If irradiation is considered, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about proton therapy. Proton radiotherapy reduces the unwanted radiation dose to the healthy tissues and organs, while providing treatment results comparable to conventional photon radiotherapy, and in some cases, it increases the chances of a cure for your child by increasing the dose to the tumor.
The specific benefit for your child depends on the location of the tumor and the planned (necessary) radiation dose, but also on other factors, such as your child’s age, underlying diseases and concurrent treatments.
As an example of the (general) benefits, proton radiotherapy can reduce the risk of intellectual loss by 27%, the risk of lung damage by up to 60% and improve the quality of life by up to 75%.
If irradiation is considered as part of the treatment, do not hesitate to talk about PROTON THERAPY.
Do not hesitate to contact us. You are not alone!
As part of the Children’s Treatment Program, Proton Center in Prague uses state-of-the-art technology and the experience of leading Czech and world oncologists with proton therapy for children. All children treated at PTC are scheduled for proton therapy in cooperation with pediatric oncologists (University Hospital in Motol, University Hospital in Brno).
Comprehensive cancer treatment of pediatric patients employs combination therapy, including irradiation, in many cases.
According to internationally recognized standards, proton therapy is indicated for the following diagnoses:
Low-grade malignant glioma
Soft tissue sarcomas
any other tumors for which proton therapy is indicated by a multidisciplinary team (esthesioneuroblastoma, neuroblastoma, nephroblastoma, malignant lymphomas, and others)
The accuracy of the proton beam offers a higher chance of a cure. Protons can be aimed with high precision and they deliver the radiation dose needed to destroy the tumor, while minimizing undesired irradiation to the surrounding organs. This precise dose distribution is known as pencil beam scanning (PBS) and is currently considered the absolute peak of proton therapy. Pencil beam scanning (PBS) works by irradiating only a specific defined area.
To compare PBS with other techniques, imagine your focus and meticulous care when you are using crayons to paint a defined object on a piece of paper. For example, a circle. You will always try consistently not to cross its borders. That is how PBS works.
Proton therapy is the world’s first choice for many types of pediatric tumors when irradiation is indicated.
Today, undesirable effects can be minimized by using modern radiation technology, proton therapy, and by reducing potential risks such as damage to the heart, lungs, endocrinological problems, growth disorders, sensory impairment, intellectual impairment, renal and urinary tract damage, fertility disorders, and development of secondary tumors, and the risk of tumor recurrence during adulthood. All this, while maintaining the same chances of a cure.
The results of contemporary medicine are also assessed according to the patient’s quality of life, and this is the greatest benefit of proton therapy: maximum chances for high-quality life during and after the treatment.
Proton beam therapy is a safer and more effective treatment compared to conventional radiation therapy. The goal of radiation therapy is to destroy the tumor while protecting the healthy tissues. This can be done by proton therapy, unlike the commonly used conventional irradiation. Conventional radiotherapy always hits a part of the healthy tissue in the surrounding areas, where irradiation is not desirable.
Protons can be used to irradiate the tumor, while avoiding the delivery of the radiation dose to the respective critical organ, thereby eliminating the risk of undesirable effects. Because of its physical properties, the proton beam can stop directly in the tumor, thus significantly reducing the unwanted irradiation of healthy tissues and organs in its surrounding area.
The difference is seen with the naked eye in the graphical representation of irradiation plans.
The objective of the treatment is to deliver the required dose of radiation to the tumor and spinal cord 100%). Equally important, however, is not to irradiate the surrounding healthy tissues and organs. These requirements are met by proton therapy, which protects the heart, lungs, liver and other important organs. Conventional irradiation, however, would affect them, and the patient is at risk of unpleasant complications.
A pediatric patient is admitted for treatment based on a recommendation from their pediatric oncologist. The Proton Center in Prague cooperates with the Clinic of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University Hospital in Motol, and the Clinic of Pediatric Oncology at the University Hospital in Brno.
Although proton therapy is painless, we know that the child’s psyche is an important part of the treatment as well. From the very first moment, everything is tailored to the child’s needs. Children are accompanied through the treatment by Professor Proton.
With his help, doctors will explain to children what is going to happen and thus dispel their fears about the unknown. The children’s room with a lot of toys, where patients can wait or relax after the treatment, does not look like a hospital at all. Cheerful coloring pages and jigsaw puzzles with “Professor Proton” provide a distraction and, together with the specially trained personnel, guide the patients throughout the treatment.
The first step is a careful examination of a pediatric patient at the Proton Center in Prague. This is done by PTC doctors and experts at our outpatient pediatric clinic.
We guarantee the top quality of the treatment, and therefore we use the most advanced diagnostic equipment, such as computed tomography (CT scanning), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scanning). In some cases, treatment requires anesthesia. This is also the case with diagnostic examinations.
Our specialists and specially trained nurse anesthetists have all the necessary equipment and experience. They will provide a pediatric patient with comprehensive anesthetic care.
The result of diagnosis is the accurate localization of the tumor. The advantage of proton therapy is the precise targeting of the beam, which protects healthy tissues and increases the radiation dose delivered directly to the tumor. As part of planning, our physicians and clinicians must jointly prepare detailed radiation plans tailored to a small patient. They need about five days to do so. The result is a detailed prescription of the treatment, determining the directions and intensity of the beam for irradiation of the tumor.
Most pediatric patients experience only mild discomfort and side effects during the treatment.
Treatment usually takes 5 days a week over the period of 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the patient’s diagnosis. Each visit lasts 60 to 90 minutes.
If anesthesia is required for a pediatric patient and has been indicated during the initial examination, the stay at the PTC will be extended to about 2 hours, and the child will spend this extra time together with their parents in the anesthesia room, where they will be under the supervision of the nurses and the anesthetist while they are sleep. Treatment at PTC is provided on an outpatient basis and any hospitalization, if required, will be provided by the partner University Hospital in Motol. The professional care for a small patient should include accommodation for the patient and their family members.
Most children do not have to restrict any of their activities during the treatment, so we would be happy to recommend leisure time activities according to your wishes.
Proton therapy is an increasingly recognized and preferred method in the world. The advantages are obvious and therefore new and new centers are opened and planned. At present, 71 centers are opened, 42 centers are just before the opening, and dozens more are planned. In visionary terms, we could predict with a relatively high degree of probability that proton beam irradiation will replace now frequently used conventional radiation therapy in the future.
The development of technologies and the constant improvement of treatment methods have extended the spectrum of diagnoses where proton therapy has a significant position. Such diagnoses clearly include treatment of pediatric patients. Prof. Anita Mahajan of the Mayo Clinic, which is the leader in pediatric oncology and where both standard and proton irradiation are used, says that proton therapy is definitely the first choice in the world for treatment of children.
Among proton radiotherapy indications, pediatric patients are a group of people that has been at the forefront of attention worldwide. The Prague Proton Center is involved in international cooperation in the field of pediatric proton radiotherapy, utilizing the experience of centers that have been in operation for a long time, sharing their experience with state-of-the-art proton technology, such as pencil beam scanning.
Proton therapy has international recommendations
With conventional photon irradiation, children are at risk of losing their intellect due to undesired brain irradiation. Doctors from the MD Anderson Center in Texas at the annual meeting of the American Cancer Society published the results comparing proton and photon therapy in the treatment of selected child brain tumors in terms of decreased intelligence after radiation therapy. Analysis showed that the IQ of this group of children treated with the contemporary photon radiation therapy declined three years after the irradiation by 10.3 percentage points per year. After proton therapy, IQ remains stable for 3 years, decreasing by only 0.1% per year. Today, pediatric oncologists recommend this treatment for 80% of all children that are to undergo radiation therapy.
Ask yourself. Ask your doctor.
You have the right to a second opinion.
In practice, this means that your oncologist will certainly not be angry when you ask us whether proton therapy is suitable for you. Because if it is you will get the best possible treatment that is available in the today’s medical science. A treatment with minimum side effects. A treatment with truly excellent results.
Take the first step and write us to make a free appointent.