a biopsy: removing a piece of tumor tissue with the help of ultrasound. This helps the doctor see the best area of the tumor to remove.
How Is Hepatoblastoma Treated?
Doctors usually treat hepatoblastoma with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. If possible, children with cancer should go to a medical center specializing in the treatment of pediatric cancers.
Treatment depends on:
the child's age
the size of the tumor
whether there is one or many tumors in the liver
whether the cancer has spread from the liver
Surgery is necessary to cure hepatoblastoma. But because of the size of the tumor, it's not possible in most children at the time they're first diagnosed.
Chemotherapy helps shrink the tumor so that doctors can remove it. Sometimes the tumor is so large that a liver transplant is needed because the whole liver must be removed to get the entire tumor.
Radioembolization (or Y90) is a type of therapy that delivers high-dose radiation directly to the liver tumor through the bloodstream. The inserts a tiny catheter (plastic tube) in the groin and passes it to the artery closest to the tumor. This procedure protects much of the normal liver tissue from the effects of Y90.
Y90 can be used as primary therapy in liver tumors that don't respond well to chemotherapy. It's also used when hepatoblastoma tumors come back or don't shrink enough for surgery.
Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), which sends chemotherapy particles directly to the tumor.
Tumor ablation, which is when doctors destroy tumors by using small needles to heat or cool them.
Who Treats Hepatoblastoma?
Hepatoblastoma is treated by a health care team, including specialists in:
If a surgeon removes the cancer completely, a child's outlook is generally good. After treatment, the doctor will do a checkup every year to see if the cancer has come back, but this doesn't happen in most cases. The doctor also will treat any long-term or late side effects from the treatment.
Having a child being treated for cancer can feel overwhelming for any family. But you're not alone. To find support, talk to your child's doctor or a hospital social worker. Many resources are available to help you get through this difficult time.
You also can find information and support online at: