Radiation Oncology Program

If your child needs radiation treatment, turn to the experts at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  We are one of the nation’s few radiation oncology programs to exclusively care for children. Our team delivers a level of care that few centers can match.

Internationally recognized pediatric radiation oncologists combine expertise with advanced technologies to deliver precise treatments. Our team approach, meticulous attention to detail and deep experience with pediatric patients make treatments less stressful for your child.

Pediatric Radiation Oncology: Why Choose Us

We were the first pediatric radiation oncology program in the nation to earn the prestigious American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx). Accreditation shows our commitment to maintaining the highest safety and quality standards.

Our program, part of CHLA’s renowned Cancer and Blood Disease Institute, offers:

  • Expertise: Highly skilled pediatric experts guide your child’s care. Our team includes a Board-certified radiation oncologist and Board-certified radiation physicist. These specialists lead research that’s making significant contributions to the field. Our expertise draws patients from all over the world. Meet our team.
  • Team approach: Doctors work alongside other team members, including radiation therapists, dosimetrists, nurses and others. We are in close communication throughout your child’s treatment, making it easier to adjust care plans when necessary.
  • Appropriate care: Children’s bodies are more sensitive to radiation therapy than adults because they are still developing. As pediatric experts, we specialize in tailoring treatments to deliver enough radiation to destroy the cancer while protecting organs and tissues.
  • Support: Our extended team includes Child Life specialists, music therapists and counselors. These professionals use a variety of techniques to help your child cope with unexpected challenges during treatment. Find out more about our Survivorship and Supportive Care Program.

Child-Friendly Radiation Oncology

We’ve adopted methods for helping children have a calm, comfortable experience. Before treatments, our team explains what to expect and shows your child and family the equipment and treatment rooms. We also answer any questions you may have.

Additional child-friendly techniques include:

  • Markless approach: Old techniques required small, permanent (and often painful) tattoos to direct treatments to the correct area. We use newer technologies that deliver radiation to precisely the right spot without tattoos or other markings.
  • Surface-guided radiation therapy: This option uses ultra-sensitive tracking technology instead of braces and headframes to track the skin’s precise location during treatment. If your child moves even slightly, the technology halts treatment until your child is back in the correct position.
  • Less anesthesia: Advanced technologies and our individualized approach help us treat more children without anesthesia. We use age-appropriate techniques to help your child stay calm and relaxed during therapy. Children can even have a small toy or comfort item with them in the treatment room.
  • Expertise in children with special needs: Developmental conditions such as autism can make it difficult for your child to receive radiation therapy. Our team has experience tailoring therapies and providing specialized support so children can safely receive the treatments they need.

Conditions We Treat

Our team treats all types of pediatric cancer, including:

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia and other blood cancers
  • Bone cancer
  • Brain tumors
  • Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Soft tissue sarcoma

Radiation Oncology Research and Innovation

Experts at CHLA are advancing radiation oncology through research and clinical trials. Our research interests include new technologies that make care safer and more precise.

We were among the first centers worldwide to use intensity-modulated radiation therapy. This technique concentrates the radiation dose on the cancer and directs it away from nearby sensitive tissue.

Other research interests include the delayed side effects of radiation. Some children experience issues affecting their physical and cognitive development long after completing radiation therapy. We are exploring methods for minimizing or even eliminating these late effects without reducing the treatment’s effectiveness.

Types of Pediatric Radiation Treatments We Offer

CHLA offers the latest technologies and a full range of radiation oncology treatments. Our offerings include:

  • Brachytherapy
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
  • Spatially fractionated radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Surface-guided radiation therapy
  • Total body irradiation
  • Total lymphoid irradiation
  • Volumetric modulated arc therapy

The option that’s best for your child depends on the diagnosis and location of the cancer. Find out more about the radiation oncology treatments we offer.

Contact us

The Cancer and Blood Disease Institute welcomes new patients, referrals and second opinions. Please call us to make an appointment.