What Are Liver Tumors? The liver is the body's largest solid organ. It has many jobs, including: cleaning the blood of toxins making bile, which helps break down food during digestion storing energy in the form of a sugar called glycogen A liver tumor can form if cells in the liver grow in a way they shouldn't. What Are the Types of Liver Tumors? Liver tumors can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors can happen at different ages. Some babies might be born with one. Others form early in life, but might not be found until later. Types of benign liver tumors include: mesenchymal hamartoma adenoma hemangioma Malignant tumors happen less often than benign tumors. The most common types of liver cancer are: Hepatoblastoma: This is most common in young children (usually younger than 3 years old). Hepatocellular carcinoma: This is more common in adults but can affect older children. Rhabdoid tumor of the liver: This cancer begins in the liver, then can spread quickly to other parts of the body. These are very rare tumors. When they do happen, they most often affect babies and toddlers. Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver (UESL): Most cases of this rare cancer happen in children 6 to 10 years old. What Causes Liver Tumors? The cause of many malignant liver tumors isn't known. But some health conditions make it more likely for a child to develop one. Hepatoblastoma is more likely to happen in boys and in kids with: Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, a disorder that can cause too much growth in the body, including the organs familial adenomatous polyposis, a condition that causes polyps (small growths) in the large intestine a very low birth weight or being born early Hepatocellular carcinoma is more common in children who have: conditions connected with cirrhosis (long-term damage) of the liver, like hereditary hemochromatosis, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, glycogen storage disease, and other liver diseases How Are Liver Tumors Treated? Surgery to remove a tumor usually is the best and most effective treatment for children with benign or malignant liver tumors. Sometimes doctors can just keep an eye on benign tumors if they don't cause serious symptoms. If a benign tumor gets very large or causes a problem, a surgeon will remove it. When this happens, usually no other treatment is needed. For a malignant liver tumor: Chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and surgery work well when a hepatocellular tumor is found early. Radioembolization (also called transarterial radioembolization with yttrium-90 or TARE-Y90) is a procedure that delivers radiation treatment right to the tumor. In some cases, a child with a malignant liver tumor may need a liver transplant. What Else Should I Know? When your child needs treatment for a tumor, it can feel overwhelming. But you're not alone. To find support, talk to anyone on the care team or a hospital social worker. Many resources are available to help you and your child get through this difficult time. You also can find information and support online at: National Cancer Institute American Childhood Cancer Organization American Liver Foundation Back to Articles Related Articles Radioembolization (TARE-Y90) for Liver Tumors Radioembolization is a procedure used to treat some kinds of liver tumors. A radioactive material works on the tumor, not the healthy tissue around it. Read More Hepatoblastoma Hepatoblastoma is a rare type of cancer that affects the liver but rarely spreads beyond it. Most cases are in children younger than 3. Read More Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a type of liver cancer. It's treated by a health care team of specialists in many areas. Read More Rhabdoid Tumor of the Liver A rhabdoid tumor of the liver is a cancer that often spreads quickly to other parts of the body. Most of these very rare tumors happen in babies and toddlers. Read More When Your Child Needs a Liver Transplant If your child needs a liver transplant, you're probably feeling lots of emotions. Fortunately, most kids who have liver transplants go on to live normal, healthy lives. Read More Blood Test: Hepatic (Liver) Function Panel Liver function tests can help doctors see if the liver has been damaged. They also can help diagnose infections and monitor medications that can cause liver-related side effects. Read More Undifferentiated Embryonal Sarcoma of the Liver (UESL) Undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver (UESL) is a rare kind of liver cancer that happens mostly in children. Read More What Is Cancer? When kids get cancer, it can often be treated and cured. Find out more in this article for kids. Read More Cancer Basics Get the basics on cancer and cancer treatments in this article. Read More Chemotherapy Chemotherapy is a big word for treatment with medicines used to help people who have cancer. This medicine kills the cancer cells that are making the person sick. Read More Blood Test: Liver Function Tests If your liver isn't working properly, it can affect your overall health. Find out why doctors do liver function tests and what's involved for teens. Read More Your Liver Your liver cleans your blood and plays an important part in digestion. Find out more in this article for kids. Read More Digestive System The digestive process starts even before the first bite of food. Find out more about the digestive system and how our bodies break down and absorb the food we eat. Read More Dealing With Cancer It's unusual for teens to have cancer, but it can happen. The good news is that most will survive and return to their everyday lives. Learn about how to cope if you or someone you know has cancer. Read More Chemotherapy Chemotherapy (chemo) is treatment with medicines that stop the growth of cancer cells. Find out how chemo works and what to expect when getting treatment. Read More Childhood Cancer Different kinds of childhood cancer have different signs, symptoms, treatments, and outcomes. But today, most kids with cancer get better. Read More Hepatitis It's sneaky, it's silent, and it can permanently harm your liver. Read this article for more information on hepatitis. Read More Hepatitis Hepatitis, an infectious liver disease, is more contagious than HIV. Find out about the different types of hepatitis. Read More Hepatitis B Hepatitis B can move from one person to another through blood and other body fluids. For this reason, people usually get it through unprotected sex or by sharing needles. Read More Hepatitis B Hepatitis B virus (HBV) spreads from person to person through blood or other body fluids. A vaccine is approved for people of all ages to prevent HBV infection. Read More Hepatitis C The hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads through blood or other body fluids, and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. The most common way people become infected is by sharing drug paraphernalia. Read More Chemotherapy Chemotherapy (chemo) is treatment with medicines that stop the growth of cancer cells. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. 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