How Is Childhood Liver Cancer Diagnosed?


To diagnose childhood liver cancer, a pediatrician or pediatric cancer specialist will perform an examination and inquire about your child’s symptoms and health history. They may order a variety of tests to determine the presence of cancerous tissue or liver tumors, including:

  • Imaging exams of the abdomen such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, computerized tomography (CT) scan, or ultrasound
  • Blood tests and liver function tests, including measuring alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels, a marker for tumors
  • Tissue biopsy, in which a sample from the liver tissue or tumor is removed for examination under a microscope

Some of the tests for liver cancer can be scary for children and family members. At NewYork-Presbyterian, our cancer care teams work to reassure young patients, connecting them to our entire health care network from the outset to establish familiarity and trust.

How Is Childhood Liver Cancer Treated?


A pediatric liver cancer care team can consist of oncologists, hepatologists, specialized surgeons, radiologists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Surgery, chemotherapy, and/or interventional radiology are some of the most common approaches to treating childhood liver cancer.


Surgery is almost always a component of pediatric liver cancer treatment. If the tumor is large and/or the cancer has spread, a partial hepatectomy (in which a part of the liver is removed) or a liver transplant may be performed.


Chemotherapy may be used to treat childhood liver cancer. In cases of hepatoblastoma, chemotherapy may help shrink a liver tumor before surgery, making it easier to remove. Our pediatric oncologists work closely with your child’s healthcare team to determine whether chemotherapy will be most effective before or after surgery.

Interventional radiology

To combat pediatric liver cancer, NewYork-Presbyterian offers chemoembolization — a powerful medicine injected into a tumor’s blood vessel — to target the cancer. We utilize microwave ablation to heat and destroy the tumor with electromagnetic waves.

We are also one of a few cancer centers to also offer selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) to children. This treatment delivers millions of tiny radioactive beads directly to liver tumors to kill cancer cells.

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Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Childhood Liver Cancer Treatment

A cancer diagnosis affects the entire family. Understanding the signs and symptoms of childhood liver cancer can allow for an earlier diagnosis and a proactive path to treatment.

At NewYork-Presbyterian, we combine top-notch cancer specialists, cutting-edge technology, access to clinical trials, and compassionate emotional support for you and your child every step of the way in the fight against cancer.

Contact NewYork-Presbyterian today for the best in pediatric cancer care services.