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Liver Cancer in Children

Treatment for Liver Cancer in Children

Different types of treatment are available for childhood liver cancer. Treatment options vary based on the type of liver cancer a child has. Other factors that may influence the choice of treatment include:
 
  • The stage of the liver cancer (the size of the tumor, whether it affects part or all of the liver, and whether it has spread to other places in the body, such as the lungs)
  • Whether the cancer can be removed completely by surgery
  • The type of liver cancer (hepatoblastoma or hepatocellular)
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
     
In general, treatment options for liver cancer in children can include:
 
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy.
     
Your doctor can describe your child's treatment choices and the expected results of each. Choosing the most appropriate liver cancer treatment in children is a decision that ideally involves the family and healthcare team.
 

Prognosis for Liver Cancer in Children

For liver cancer in children, the prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following:
 
  • The stage of the cancer
  • Whether the cancer can be removed completely by surgery
  • The type of liver cancer
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred.
     
The prognosis may also depend on:
 
  • Certain features of the cancer cell (how it looks under a microscope)
  • Whether the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood levels go down after chemotherapy begins.
     
Childhood liver cancer may be cured if the tumor is small and can be completely removed by surgery. Complete removal is possible more often for hepatoblastoma than for hepatocellular carcinoma.
 
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