The pyramid-shaped liver is the largest organ in the body. It is located under your right ribs, and it has two sections called lobes.
It is different from other organs because its blood comes from two sources. The hepatic artery brings in oxygen-rich blood, while the portal vein supplies nutrient-rich blood from the intestines.
Some of the liver's important jobs are to:
- Break down and store nutrients from the intestine
- Make clotting factors to help your body stop bleeding
- Create bile to help the intestine absorb nutrients
- Help get rid of waste
According to the American Cancer Society, about 2% of cancer in children is liver cancer. About 100 children a year are diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, the most common type of liver cancer.
If liver cancer spreads, the most likely places are surrounding tissues, the lungs or the brain.
Types of childhood liver cancer
The two most common types of liver cancers in children are:
- Hepatoblastoma. This occurs most frequently in infants or young children between the ages of 2 months and 3 years. It is the most common kind of cancer of the liver in children.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It occurs most frequently in children between the ages of 10 and 16 years.
If your child has been diagnosed with liver cancer, we’re here to help. Call 877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.
Childhood liver cancer risk factors
Anything that increases your child’s chance of getting liver cancer is a risk factor.
- Certain conditions passed down in families, including Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and Familial adenomatous polyposis
- Low birth weight (less than 3½ pounds)
- Prior hepatitis infection
Not everyone with risk factors gets liver cancer. However, if your child has risk factors, you should discuss them with your doctor.
In rare cases, liver cancer can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you. Visit our genetic testing page to learn more.