Although cancer is rare in children, worldwide there are approximately 215,000 new cases in the under 15s each year. Around a sixth of these children require treatment with radiotherapy, including those with brain tumours, and bone and soft tissue sarcomas such as Ewing sarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma.
Catia Aguas, a radiation therapist and dosimetrist at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc, Brussels, Belgium, told the conference that using video instead of general anaesthesia is less traumatic for children and their families, as well as making each treatment quicker and more cost effective.
She explained: “Being treated with radiotherapy means coming in for a treatment every weekday for four to six weeks. The children need to remain motionless during treatment and, on the whole, that means a general anaesthesia. That in turn means they have to keep their stomach empty for six hours before the treatment.
Dr. Stegall’s Comments: Although I do not practice pediatric oncology, I still like to read studies involving the pediatric population as many of the innovative methods developed there can potentially be used with adults as well. The ability to help children be still during radiation treatments, without having to use general anesthesia, could certainly be applied to adults as well.