Radiation therapy for children

We are Victoria’s only provider of specialist radiation therapy services for children

This page has information for parents of children undergoing radiation therapy with us. 

How we give radiation therapy to children 

The treatment itself is painless and is like a regular x-ray. The treatment equipment and environment can be overwhelming for children though. We need to be able to deliver exact radiation therapy. It is important that the child stays still during their treatment. Moulds help children keep still and comfortable. We make these personalised moulds when children come to pre-treatment planning appointments.  

Children, particularly small children, may be unable to keep still for treatment. If so, we may give them an anaesthetic or sedation. An anaesthetic team from the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) comes to us to provide this service. 

Children having radiation therapy may have to travel to us every day. In some cases, this may be five days a week for up to seven weeks. 

Our radiation therapy staff help families cope. They do their best to make children feel less anxious about their treatment. They can also help the families of children. 

What is the treatment experience like for children? 

We have dedicated children’s waiting areas. These areas have a range of toys and activities for different age groups. For older kids, there is also a “VIP” room – home to a PlayStation and TV. We use special lighting and music in treatment rooms to make them more child friendly. An extensive iTunes music library, with iPod connectivity, is also available. This lets children listen to their favourite music. 

Patients must be alone when they are having their treatment. This can be difficult for younger children. During treatment, many young patients watch movies, available on an iPod or iPad mini. This is a distraction during the treatment. We can also link the iPods and iPads via Skype or FaceTime. This way children can watch and listen to their parents during treatment. Doing so helps reduce the feeling of separation. 

We also supply a sticker page “countdown” calendar. This lets children count down to the treatment's completion. Doing so encourages children to stick with their treatment. We also use Lucky dips and certificates. Our resident balloon artist creates various balloon art. These also entertain children and reduce boredom. A video production team is also available to allow children to be the superstars of their own movie. This helps children share their radiation therapy experience with friends and family. 

My Trip to Peter Mac 

We also supply the My Trip to Peter Mac book. This gives children and their families a look into what to expect from Radiation Therapy. We developed this with the help of The Royal Children's Hospital. 

Download My Trip to Peter Mac pdf

Dr Dave And His Amazing Radiotherapy Machine 

Danny Katz and Mitch Vane are an acclaimed children’s author and illustrator team. They produced the book ‘Dr Dave and his Amazing Radiotherapy Machine.’ The book is for primary-school-aged children. It is customisable and easy to update. We supply this comic-style book to patients and their families. This further enhances the information offered to children having radiation therapy with us. 

Check out The Thrilling Adventures of Dr Dave in: 

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