Hepatoblastoma – Liver Cancer In Children
Childhood liver cancer is a disease, which develops when a cancer cell multiplies itself into innumerable units inside the liver tissue. The liver is one of the largest and most significant organs in the human body. Liver cancer in children ( Hepatoblastoma ) is very rare that usually develops outside the liver. It affects children of the age group less than 3 to 4 years. It typically doesn’t spread to other parts of the body, unlike other cancer found in the human body.
Signs & Symptoms of Hepatoblastoma
Symptoms can be found differently in every child; it usually varies on various factors, including the size of the tumor, its spread, and risk stage.
Symptoms may include-
-Nausea and vomiting
-A swollen abdomen
-Loss of appetite
-Enlarged veins on the belly
-Lump in the belly
-Pain in the abdomen
The symptoms of hepatoblastoma can be similar to the other disease. Make sure to take your child to the doctor if you notice a severe condition.
Risk Factors of Hepatoblastoma
Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor; when it comes to liver cancer, several risk factors affect your body’s functioning. If you think that your child may have a risk of developing liver cancer, ensure early diagnosis by a professional doctor.
Risk factor for Hepatoblastoma includes-
-Glycogen Storage Diseases
-Familial adenomatous Polyposis
-Deficient weight at birth
If your child faces any of the above symptoms regularly, you may take your child to a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. Your child may undergo various tests, including-
- MRI – computers, radio waves, or large magnets are used to make a detailed yet clear picture of the organ inside the human body. It will help you even look at the blood vessels in the liver.
- Blood tests- They check for liver, blood clotting problems, and kidney functions in your body.
- Ultrasound exam- In this ultrasound exam, sound waves are used to formulate images.
- CT Scan- Computer and a series of X-rays are used to make clear images of the body.
- Tumor Biopsy- Tumor biopsy is a diagnostic procedure followed by taking out a tumor and checking it with a microscope to determine cancer cells. The biopsy is usually done using a needle or with surgery.
Treatment of Childhood Liver Cancer
The treatment of childhood liver cancer depends on many factors, including stage, a parameter of its effect, and other existing diseases.
Childhood liver cancer can be treated with any of the below procedures, including –
Liver transplant- if the liver cancer has reached its final stage and cannot be cured, in such a situation, the liver is removed and replaced with a sound liver from a donor.
Chemotherapy- This treatment involves medications that kill cancer cells. They may be given after or before surgery. They can also be injected directly into the body through injections.
Radiation therapy- Radiation therapy usually consists of high energy X-rays that can kill cancer cells and stop them from multiplying or spreading to the other parts of the body.
Surgery – Surgery is basically a treatment procedure to remove the tumor section of a cancerous body part.
A child may have complications from the treatment procedures and the tumor, including-
-Development of new cancer cells
-Problems with anti-rejection medicines
-Cancer that multiplies back
-Kidney, heart, or lung problems
-Problems with growth and development
-Increased bleeding, vomiting, hair loss, bruising, diarrhea, tiredness, infections with chemotherapy medicines
-Dysfunctioning of liver
-Bleeding and infections from surgery
-Failure of liver transplant treatment
Hepatoblastoma is a scarce cancer type found in children, if not cured at an early stage, may create death threatening complications that are hard to cure. Know your child’s symptoms and signs and get him/her a proper diagnostic treatment to fix it as early as possible.