Milan, Italy: A comparison of three types of radiotherapy for children’s brain tumours suggests that a type of proton therapy called pencil beam scanning offers the best hope of preserving cognitive functions.
The study, presented at the ESTRO 38 conference, shows that this new form of radiotherapy delivers the lowest doses of radiation to the temporal lobes and hippocampus, areas of the brain important in functions like memory.
The study was presented by Laura Toussaint, a PhD student at the department of Medical Physics, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.
She said: “Brain tumours are the second most common type of cancer in children. Survival rates have increased in recent decades and currently 75% of children diagnosed with a brain tumour will be alive five years later.
“Alongside surgery and chemotherapy, radiotherapy plays an important role in treating brain tumours in children, but we need to protect children’s developing brains from any unnecessary radiation. The more we learn about how to effectively target brain tumours while minimising the dose to other parts of the brain, the better we can preserve children’s cognitive abilities and quality of life after treatment.”
Ms Toussaint and her colleagues carried out detailed studies of ten different
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