Bile Duct Cancer

Bile Duct Cancer






Bile duct cancer is also know as Cholangiocarcinoma. Your bile duct is like a slender tube that moves a fluid called bile from your liver to your small intestine. Bile duct cancer (sometimes called cholangiocarcinoma) is a cancerous (malignant) growth in the duct. Cancer of the bile duct is rare and is most prevalent in people ages 50 to 70.

Cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer is a cancerous (malignant) growth in one of the ducts that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine. Cholangiocarcinoma is rare. It occurs in approximately 2 out of 100,000 people.

Signs and tests


Your health care provider will perform a physical exam. Tests will be done to check for a tumor or blockage in the bile duct. These may include:
Blood tests that may be done include:

  • Liver function tests (especially alkaline phosphatase or bilirubin levels) the elevation values of these tests will alert physicians to liver disfunction.



Treatment


The goal is to treat the cancer and the blockage it causes. When possible, surgery to remove the tumor is the treatment of choice and may result in a cure. If the tumor is large, the entire liver may need to be removed and a liver transplant will be needed. However, often the cancer has already spread by the time it is diagnosed. Chemotherapy or radiation may be given after surgery to decrease the risk of the cancer returning. However, the benefit of this treatment is not certain.
Endoscopic therapy with stent placement can temporarily relieve blockages in the biliary ducts and relieve jaundice in patients when the tumor cannot be removed. Laser therapy combined with light-activated chemotherapy medications is another treatment option for those with blockages of the bile duct.



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