A pediatric patient is admitted for treatment based on the pediatric oncologist's recommendation. The Proton Therapy Center in Prague cooperates with the Clinic of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University Hospital in Motol, and the Clinic of Pediatric Oncology at the University Hospital in Brno.
If proton therapy is performed under general anesthesia, pediatric patients are hospitalized at the University Hospital Motol and commute to the Proton Therapy Center only for radiation treatment.
Although proton therapy is painless, we know that the child's psyche is an important part of the treatment. From the first moment, everything is adapted to the child‘s needs as much as possible.
When not anesthetized, children can wait for their radiation session or check-ups in a children's room with lots of toys, which looks nothing like a hospital. Cheerful coloring books and puzzles with "Professor Proton" provide distraction and guide them together with trained staff throughout the treatment.
In order for our medical team to assess a patient for suitability, we require some medical information from you. Your treatment coordinator will inform you of exactly what information we require. Usually, we will also request to see scans, such as an MRI, CT or PET scan. This information can be requested from the hospital or clinic and is often given to the patient on a CD. We can provide you with login details to upload the CD to our secure server. Alternatively, you can mail it to us. For pediatric patients we also require the referral for radiotherapy (it doesn't need to be specifically for proton therapy) by the treating pediatric oncologist.
Any information you already have about your child's diagnosis and previous treatments is very helpful and it is a good idea to provide us with as much information as possible in your initial enquiry. Your child's case will then be reviewed by our medical team at the daily indication board meeting. The Proton Therapy Center also cooperates with the Clinic of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University Hospital in Motol, and the Clinic of Pediatric Oncology at the University Hospital in Brno. Your treatment coordinator will get back to you with the outcome, or possibly a request for more information if the oncologists require it to make their final decision.
You do not need to travel to Prague for the assessment.
When you come to Prague for treatment, you will first have a consultation to discuss the side effects and outcomes of treatment in your child's specific case, as well as the concrete treatment plan. The doctor also explains what to expect during and after the treatment. Finally, all of your questions are answered.
The first stage of treatment involves the diagnostic scans here at the Proton Therapy Center (MRI and/or CT, preparation of the fixation device, etc.). Precise treatment planning is crucial for treatment success. Therefore, a team of clinical physicists and physicians prepares a radiation plan tailored to each patient according to which proton therapy will take place. The irradiation plan also determines from which directions and with what intensity the proton beam will irradiate the tumor. This process is very complex and it typically takes one week to finalise before treatment can commence.
We Use The Pencil Beam Scanning Technology
Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS) marks the exact distribution of the proton beam dose and is currently the absolute peak in proton therapy technology. PBS irradiates the target area with millimeter accuracy with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs.
The treatment is outpatient, and you come to the Proton Therapy Center for radiation and regular check-ups during treatment.
One visit takes 15–90 minutes while the radiation is a matter of a few minutes. In case of treatment under general anaesthesia, the stay at PTC is extended to approximately 2–3 hours, which the child spends together with either parent in the anaesthesiology room and in the recovery room under the supervision of nurses and the physician/anaesthesiologist until the anaesthesia wears off.
Prior to each radiation session, we carefully check the child’s position using X-ray scans and carry out certain other checks necessary to commence irradiating. At least once a week, the child undergoes check-ups with the physician who will go through the treatment progress with you and check the child’s condition. If the child is not hospitalised, they are checked by the paediatric oncologist at the same time during outpatient visits.
The treatment is outpatient and, in most cases, lasts from 30 to 35 business days, according to the regime determined by the physician on the basis of the initial assessment and other diagnostic tests.