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Stages of childhood liver cancer are either presurgical or postsurgical in nature. Those stages are broken down further, depending on where the cancer is located in the liver and whether it has spread. Tests used to determine the stages of childhood liver cancer include MRI and CT scans, as well as ultrasound tests and sometimes surgery.

Stages of Childhood Liver Cancer: An Introduction

If a diagnosis of childhood liver cancer is made, the doctor needs to know the stage of liver cancer -- or the extent of the disease -- in order to plan the best childhood liver cancer treatment. Staging is an attempt to find out the size of the tumor, whether the disease has spread, and, if so, to what parts of the body.

How the Stages of Childhood Liver Cancer Are Determined

There are two staging systems for childhood liver cancer:
  • Presurgical (before surgery) staging: The stage is based on where the tumor has spread within the four parts (quadrants) of the liver, as shown by imaging procedures, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scans. This staging system, called PRETEXT, may be used for childhood hepatoblastoma.
  • Postsurgical (after surgery) staging: The stage is based on the amount of tumor that remains after the patient has had surgery to look at or remove the tumor. Postsurgical staging is used for most cases of childhood liver cancer.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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