“More children than ever before are now surviving cancer” (Barncancerfonden, (2012), Childhood cancer in Sweden) and “there is a big difference in the way radiation therapy can be used for children with cancer than in adult cancer treatment. Children are much more sensitive to radiation than adults. The reason for this is that children are growing. The growing skeleton is very sensitive to radiation and even a small dose can inhibit normal bone development. This means for example that if half of the face is radiated, the other half will be smaller than the non-irradiated side when the child becomes an adult.
Radiation therapy is rarely given on a single occasion. The most common is that the radiation is split into a number of treatments that can last for four – six weeks. The unit for radiation is called Grey, Gy. It is common that a tumour is treated with approximately 40 Gy, and if you give 1 Gy at each session, it will take 40 days to give the full treatment. The daily dose is usually between 1-2 Gy. The treatment is often given in a machine called linear accelerator. It’s a big machine where the child must be alone on a table and the machine can be tilted so that the rays can hit the body from different angles. The actual radiation treatment takes only a few minutes but preparations in the room and be alone there can be awkward for the child.” (Barncancerfonden, (2012), Strålbehandling för barn)