Hepatoblastoma is a rare form of cancerous tumor that starts in cells in the liver. This is the most common cancer liver tumor in early childhood. In the rare case, the cancer cells of Hepatoblastoma spread to other areas of the body.
This disease is like Hepatocellular Carcinoma, another kind of liver cancer that is most common in male as compared to female.
At this stage, the tumor is only in the liver and can be completely removed via surgery.
In the second stage, the tumor can also be removed via surgery but a small amount of cancer left in the liver.
The tumor cannot be completely removed and cancer cells are found near the lymph nodes.
Cancer has spread to the other parts of the body as well.
After the treatment, the disease comes back in the body. It may enter the liver/any part of the body.
The symptoms of Hepatoblastoma vary from child to child. Symptoms depend on the size, presence, and location of the tumor.
Swelling in the abdomen
The accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity named ascites can cause swelling. Basically, Ascites is an accumulation of protein that contains ascites fluid. The swelling also appears due to different reasons like cirrhosis of the liver.
Weight loss due to decreased appetite
The weight loss happens due to loss of appetite. And the loss of appetite happens due to the lower immune system and upset stomach. As a result of it, the patient feels fatigued unable to eat the sustainable diet and weight loss.
Pain in the abdomen
Due to infection, abnormal growth, inflammation and intestinal disorder the child may face pain in the abdomen.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea is the uneasiness of stomach appears before vomiting. Vomiting is the forcible emptying of stomach contents via the mouth.
The yellow discoloration of the skin, mucous membranes, and white eyes are the sign of jaundice. The color of eyes varies depending upon the levels of bilirubin (waste material found in the blood).
The normal temperature of the body is 98.6°F when it reaches 100.4°F it is the sign of infection.
Skin acts as a defense wall to protects the inside body. Once the skin detects any suspicious substance it starts itching. The immune system of our body reacts something that touches the skin.
Enlarged veins of the belly
Generally, the veins become enlarged due to the digestive tract that can be seen via skin. The appearance of veins with pain or itching indicates a medical issue.
The exact cause of Hepatoblastoma is still unknown. But there are a number of generic conditions like contribute to hepatoblastoma Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Wilson disease, porphyria cutanea etc. Liver cancer occurs due to several inborn errors of metabolism like tyrosinemia, glycogen storage diseases, and alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency.
The child who is exposed to hepatitis B/C at an early age is exposed to increased risk of Hepatoblastoma.
After checking the complete medical history and physical examination the diagnosis of the patient will be as per the following procedures.
A sample of the tissue is taken from the tumor to examine under a microscope.
The Complete blood count is the measurement of size, number as well as the maturity of different blood cells in a said volume of blood. It includes white blood cells count, red blood cells count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume and platelet count.
Additional blood tests
The blood chemistries, blood clotting test, evaluation of liver, kidney function, and genetic studies. By measuring the level of AFP in the child’s blood doctor checks whether the disease is responding to the treatment or not.
X-Ray is producing images of internal tissue, bone, and organs by electromagnetic energy.
Magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) is done with a combination of a large magnet along with radio frequencies. The computer will produce hundreds of images of organs as well as structures within the body.
This technique uses high-frequency sound waves. The computer creates images of blood vessels, organs, and tissues. Ultrasound is done to see the function of the internal organs as well as assess the blood flow via different vessels.
It is an imaging test done by using a special radioactive material by injecting into a vein. The substance collects in the area of diseased bone and the special camera picks up the radioactivity.
The treatment of hepatoblastoma is aimed to remove the tumor so that the proper functioning of the liver can be maintained. Different kinds of treatment given to the patients are mentioned below.
This is a surgery to remove part of the liver. A good functioning liver with a tumor which has not grown into blood vessels can go through this treatment.
Surgery and radiation therapy to kill cancer cells in a certain area. This is used to shrink a tumor before surgery. Chemo is also used with other treatments in case cancer comes back.
The liver transplant is the complete replacement of an infected liver with a complete or partial healthy liver from respective donors.
Radiation therapy is done by using beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. This external therapy is done by using X-rays along with protons /other types of energy also can be used.
Percutaneous Ethanol injection
Ethanol is an alcoholic injection which is given using a small needle right in the tumor to kill cancer cells.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Cancer Institute recommends that your child receive cancer treatment at more than 200 medical centers in the U.S. They have also shown higher survival rates after taking treatment in their centers.
However, the treatment of cancer and long term survival vary from child to child. Keep in mind that a continuous follow-up and proper care is essential for a child is diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma. New treatments are continuously being discovered to treat the disease by reducing the side effects too.