A tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue that grows at an increased rate. Tumors that develop in the liver can be either noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).
Benign liver tumors are common and usually do not produce symptoms. Malignant tumors are less frequent and require more aggressive treatment. The most common cancerous liver tumors in children are:
Hepatoblastoma usually responds well to treatment when detected early. Hepatocellular carcinoma is much more difficult to treat and the long-term outlook (prognosis) is often poor.
Liver cancer is more common in boys than girls. Certain diseases and disorders can increase the risk of developing childhood liver cancer. Having one of these diseases or disorders does not mean that a child will develop cancer. These disorders include:
Often, no symptoms of liver tumors are seen until the tumor has become large.
Symptoms of a liver tumor can include:
Many other conditions can cause the same symptoms, so it is important to check with your child’s doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosis of a liver tumor starts with a physical exam and medical history. Other procedures and tests performed by doctors at Riley at IU Health may include:
Treatment of a cancerous liver tumor depends on staging (a classification system that helps determine how far the cancer has progressed) and your child's age and overall health. Treatment may include:
Your child’s long-term outlook (prognosis) depends on factors such as the type and extent of the condition, response to treatment, genetics, age and overall health. Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important for the best results. Follow-up care is also essential.
Visit the trusted websites below to learn more about liver tumors, including information about support groups and research.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This organization is a clinical trials group that is supported by the National Cancer Institute. They provide more information about childhood liver cancer on their website.
Learn about the treatment of childhood liver cancer on the National Cancer Institute website.
The American Cancer Society provides general information about liver cancer for patients of all ages. Topics include types of liver cancer, statistics about liver cancer and new information in liver cancer research.
This organization promotes education, support and research aimed to prevent, treat and cure liver disease, including liver cancer.
Molecular Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research offers the Cancer Therapy Program in Pediatrics. This program focuses on new cancer drug development and investigates the use of promising treatments for patients with recurrent or relapsed childhood cancers such as liver tumors. The Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research is a division within the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
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