Proton Therapy for Your Child

Finding out your child has cancer can be heartbreaking. We are here to give your child every opportunity to live a healthy, normal life. While this time can be extremely emotional, it’s important to stay informed about your treatment options. The good news is that advances in treatment methods and technology have significantly improved outcomes both for cure and long-term quality of life. Proton therapy, in particular, is associated with minimal long-term side effects as a result of the precision and how the radiation conforms to the shape of the tumor.

The Northwestern Medicine Proton Center works in affiliation with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, one of the top ranked cancer treatment centers in the nation for treating pediatric cancer, to provide the best treatment options for our mutual pediatric patients.

We offer the following for pediatric patients through our cancer treatment centers and affiliations:

Clinical Specialties

  • Hematology oncology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Surgical oncology
  • Pediatric anesthesia / critical care
  • Specialized nurses

Supportive Services

  • Dedicated child life specialist
  • Social work
  • Nutrition
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy

The Northwestern Medicine Proton Center is one of the few proton therapy centers throughout the Midwest and the first one in Illinois. Our team is dedicated to explaining all of your child’s treatment options and facilitating a conversation with his or her physician or oncologist to determine the best course of treatment.

To learn if you can benefit from proton therapy, call 1.877.887.5807 or fill out our online form.

Request Appointment

Northwestern Medicine Proton Center provides proton therapy for pediatric patients.
Watch a Video: Proton Therapy for Pediatric Patients To learn more about other tumor types, visit our Video Library.


Learn about the Pediatric Neuro-oncology Clinic

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago at Northwestern Medicine CDH and Delnor Hospital logo

Advantages of Proton Therapy for Pediatric Patients

Children’s bodies are still growing. This means they can have more serious short-term and long-term side effects from X-ray radiation than adults.1,2 Proton therapy is generally preferred for treating solid tumors in children because it delivers less radiation to normal tissues, which helps to prevent serious complications and causes fewer short- and long-term side effects.2,3 Proton therapy delivers less radiation to the heart, lungs, abdomen and esophagus for pediatric patients with medulloblastoma. Less radiation to these critical organs reduces the likelihood that patients will experience adverse effects years after treatment.1

Research shows that proton therapy can reduce the risk of developmental and growth delays and abnormalities, reductions in IQ and other issues often linked with standard X-ray radiation. This is why proton therapy is often preferred when children need radiation treatment.

A brain scan showing treatment of a tumor with protons. 

What to Expect with Proton Therapy

A pediatric proton therapy patient is helped onto the scan bed by two nurses.
"What to Expect" Pediatric Video

There is typically no discomfort or sensation during the actual radiation treatment. Most pediatric patients have few, or very mild, side effects from proton therapy. If your child does experience any side effects, they can be managed with medications in most cases. Depending on your child’s diagnosis, treatments are usually given five days a week for a period of four to eight weeks.

The time spent actually delivering the protons to the tumor is about one minute, but a pediatric cancer treatment session can range from 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the patient’s needs. Sedation is available if needed to help keep your child still during the treatment. Most children are able to participate in normal activities before and after treatment.

Learn more about what to expect when getting treated with proton therapy.

Contact Us

To discover if you or a loved one could benefit from proton therapy, please call us at 877.887.5807 (TTY 711).

Request Appointment