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Sylvia Cheng – 2022 Feature Grant Recipient

Sylvia ChengSylvia Cheng – British Columbia Children’s Hospital, BC

Project Title: “Radiotherapy and proton beam treatment for childhood brain tumours in Canada”

Description of Project:

Radiation therapy is an important treatment modality in the curative-intent therapy of pediatric brain tumors. It may be delivered either using conventional photon therapy (available in Canada) or proton therapy (not presently available in Canada). Proton therapy can reduce the dose to normal tissues and decrease long-term toxicities, but
requires an out-of-country referral with provincial Ministries of Health approval, and many incidental, out-of-pocket costs for patients and their families. There is limited published data about proton therapy utilization in Canada. Patel et al. has published a systematic review on proton therapy in 2014 that included some data about numbers of patients being referred out-of-country from Alberta. However, no patient-level information was collected. Referral patterns and factors predictive of proton therapy utilization for Canadian children have not been previously been evaluated. A lack of existing data limits the ability of oncologists, scientists, patients and families to advocate for improved access to this novel treatment across Canada.
This study aims to describe the current pattern of proton therapy use in pediatric brain tumour patients in Canada. In addition, we also hope to characterize the demographic, psychosocial, and clinical factors associated with children treated with proton therapy and their clinical outcomes including quality of life and patient-reported outcomes, and the socioeconomic impact on families.

What receiving this award means:

“On behalf of my collaborating investigators and myself, I would like to express immense gratitude to all of you for supporting our research that we know will have profound impact on the practice and delivery of care for pediatric brain tumour patients across Canada. With your support, we hope to be able describe the current landscape of use and outcomes of proton radiation therapy in children diagnosed with brain tumours across the country. In addition, your generous donations will allow us to explore the qualitative and socioeconomic burden treatment has on our families to better inform ways to continue to improve our clinical care delivery.”