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Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Digestive System


Liver and bile duct late effects include the following:

  • Liver doesn't work the way it should or stops working.
  • Gallstones.
  • Hepatitis B or C infection.
  • Liver damage caused by veno-occlusive disease /sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (VOD/SOS).
  • Liver fibrosis (an overgrowth of connective tissue in the liver) or cirrhosis.
  • Fatty liver with insulin resistance (a condition in which the body makes insulin but cannot use it well).
  • Liver failure.

Possible signs of liver and bile duct late effects include abdominal pain and jaundice.

These symptoms may be caused by liver and bile duct late effects:

  • Weight gain.
  • Extended abdomen.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Pain in the abdomen near the ribs, often on the right side.
  • Pain in the abdomen after eating a fatty meal.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).
  • Light-colored bowel movements.
  • Dark-colored urine.
  • A lot of gas.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Feeling tired or weak.

Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. Talk to your child's doctor if your child has any of these problems.

Certain tests and procedures are used to detect (find) and diagnose health problems in the liver and bile duct.

These and other tests and procedures may be used to detect or diagnose liver or bile duct late effects:

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient's health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Blood chemistry studies: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body. An unusual (higher or lower than normal) amount of a substance can be a sign of disease in the organ or tissue that makes it. For example, there may be a higher level of bilirubin in the body if the liver has been damaged.
  • Ferritin level: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amount of ferritin. Ferritin is a protein that binds to iron and stores it for use by the body. After a stem cell transplant, a high ferritin level may be a sign of liver disease.
  • Blood studies to check how well the blood clots: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amount of platelets in the body or how long it takes for the blood to clot.
  • Hepatitisassay: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked for pieces of the hepatitis virus. The blood sample may also be used to measure how much hepatitis virus is in the blood. All patients who had blood transfusions before 1972 should be screened for hepatitis B and before 1993 should be screened for hepatitis C.
  • Ultrasound exam: A procedure in which high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off internal tissues or organs, such as the gall bladder, and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram. The picture can be printed to be looked at later.
  • Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues from the liver so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of a fatty liver.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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