Significant progress has been made in the treatment of cancer in children in recent decades. Many types of pediatric malignancies considered fatal 50 years ago are highly curable today. This remarkable progress has been achieved through multi-institutional trials made possible by the participation of the overwhelming majority of patients at UT Southwestern University Hospitals.
Dedicated academic physicians, such as those at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center, have served as the catalysts in completing these trials – investigating new treatments and supporting patients along with their families throughout. Cancer in children often is quite distinct from adult cancer, as are the patients’ needs. Children’s is equally unique in its ability to offer comprehensive services tailored to children.
As cancer can strike virtually any site in the body, radiation may be used anywhere. It can be especially useful when a tumor affects surgically inaccessible sites or when surgery might be disfiguring.
Types of Therapies
Groundbreaking technology available at UT Southwestern features:
- Capable of delivering high-precision radiation therapy to the tumor. CyberKnife offers patients the potential of increasing the radiation dose to the tumor while simultaneously reducing collateral high dose radiation to surrounding normal tissue. The reduction in dose to adjacent normal tissues should lead in turn to fewer side effects.
- Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- Another route to deposit radiation more selectively. IMRT has emerged throughout the country as a means of selectively irradiating tumors and decreasing high dose radiation to adjacent normal structures. In selected cases, applying radioactive sources near the tumor is used as well to increase the tumor dose.
Physicians at UT Southwestern and Children’s are at the forefront of pioneering the study of new agents to combat cancer, monitoring late effects of treatment, and improving our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer. Understanding the biology of the development of cancer moves discoveries from the lab bench to the bedside. At UT Southwestern and Children’s, research is translated to helping patients and making cancer history.