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Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
Radiation is not always needed to treat leukemia, but it can be used in certain situations:
Before treatment starts, the radiation team will take careful body measurements to determine the correct angles for aiming the radiation beams and the proper dose of radiation. This planning session, called simulation, usually includes getting imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans.
The treatment itself is much like getting an x-ray, but the radiation is much stronger. It is painless, but some younger children may need to be sedated to make sure they don’t move during the treatment. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time – getting your child into place for treatment – usually takes longer.
The possible short-term side effects depend on where the radiation is aimed, and can include:
Longer-term side effects are also possible and are described in Living as a Childhood Leukemia Survivor.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Horton TM, Steuber CP. Overview of the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and adolescents. UpToDate. 2018. Accessed at www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-treatment-of-acute-lymphoblastic-leukemia-in-children-and-adolescents on December 29, 2018.
National Cancer Institute. Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/hp/child-all-treatment-pdq on December 29, 2018.
National Cancer Institute. Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia/Other Myeloid Malignancies Treatment (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/hp/child-aml-treatment-pdq on December 29, 2018.
Tarlock K, Cooper TM. Acute myeloid leukemia in children and adolescents. UpToDate. 2018. Accessed at www.uptodate.com/contents/acute-myeloid-leukemia-in-children-and-adolescents on December 29, 2018.
Last Revised: February 12, 2019