Navigating Radiation Therapy-An APP for children and their families


      The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre sees over 130 children each year for Radiation Therapy and it is essential for these children and their families to have a better understanding of what will happen when they come to have radiation treatment. Patient education and understanding is an essential part of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and it was time to update our resources for this very special population.


      In 2013 we created the Paediatric Radiation Storybook to help the children and their families understand more about radiation therapy. The book was developed as a generic book that could be used at any radiation centre and was also translated into French. In 2014 we started developing an APP and the end result was completed in the Spring of 2015 and available to all children and their families and it is called RADS4KIDS. Parent FAQs on radiation side effects, signs and symptoms and tools for helping your child cope with treatment: A game that illustrates radiation attacking bad cells in the body; A calendar of emoticons that allows kids to record how they feel; A story book that explains radiation therapy to children, which is available in both English and French.


      Families are very busy trying to navigate the new world of cancer diagnosis and any ways to make it easier is always helpful. These families can download the APP and have it with them to read the information at their own pace and the children can play the game in comfortable surroundings. The interactive calendar gives us a better understanding of how the child is feeling during treatment.


      The APP has allowed us to give the children and parents more information, which they can absorb in their own time. It is a generic and can be used by anyone worldwide wanting and needing more information about radiation therapy for children. The APP can also be used by adult patients who want to help their own children understand what they are going through.