Radiation Therapy

In partnership with MultiCare Regional Cancer Center,  Mary Bridge Children’s offers advanced radiation technology only available in a few hospitals statewide. As part of MultiCare, Mary Bridge offers a variety of resources to enhance your child’s treatment.

Our board-certified radiation oncologists provide convenient, high-quality cancer treatment so your child spends less time traveling and more time at home or at school.

What Is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation uses high-energy beams to destroy cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy that travels throughout the entire body, radiation therapy targets individual tumors.

The typical course of radiation involves receiving treatments Monday through Friday for 4 to 7 weeks. During the treatment, your child must lie still on a table while the radiation oncologist aims the machine at the tumors. Each radiation therapy session may last up to 30 minutes.

Why Choose Us for Radiation Therapy?

We offer radiation therapy through MultiCare Regional Cancer Center, which is located in the same building as Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. We offer:

  • Expert care: Our radiation oncologists understand the unique challenges of treating cancer in children.
  • Leading technology: We use the most advanced equipment available to minimize the side effects of radiation.
  • Comprehensive support: We offer a range of support services to make radiation therapy easier on your child.

Comprehensive radiation therapy support

We understand that cancer treatment is one of the most difficult challenges a family can face. At Mary Bridge, you have an entire group of experts working together on your child’s recovery, including specialists such as:

  • A sedation services team who attends radiation sessions as needed to provide anesthesia for your child’s comfort
  • Child life specialists who explain treatment in child-friendly language while helping distract and entertain children during difficult procedures
  • Psychologists to help your child cope emotionally with cancer
  • Neuropsychologists to evaluate children at risk of learning problems after cancer treatment
  • Dietitians to help your child get proper nutrition to support treatment and recovery
  • Nurse navigators and social workers to help guide you through the medical process and make sure your family’s needs are met

Learn more about our  child and family support services.

Types of Radiation Therapy

Depending on the type and location of tumors, your child’s specialists may prescribe one of several types of radiation therapy:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS): We are one of just a few hospitals statewide using CyberKnife®, a noninvasive radiation tool that allows us to deliver high radiation doses with pinpoint accuracy. Radiation oncologists often use CyberKnife for tumors in sensitive areas such as the brain or spinal cord.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): IMRT is an advanced technology using multiple small beams of varied strength to deliver high-precision radiation. This helps deliver just the right amount of radiation while minimizing damage to surrounding tissues.
  • Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT): For IGRT, we take images before each session to ensure a high degree of precision when aiming the radiation beams. Specialists often use IGRT for tumors that occur close to sensitive organs.

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy aims to kill only cancer cells, but this treatment can cause damage to surrounding tissues. Potential side effects can vary based on the specific area of the body and may include:

  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin changes
  • Difficulty eating

Your child’s radiation oncologist will provide detailed information on what to expect, as well as how you can help manage any side effects your child experiences.

Our Location

We are located in the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center at Tacoma General Hospital, in the same building as the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

MultiCare Radiation Oncology
1003 S. 5th Street
Phillips 1
Phone: 253-403-4994

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone during your child’s treatment to answer questions.