Bile duct cancer
Bile Duct Cancer

Bile Duct Cancer: Definition, 3 Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What is Bile Duct Cancer?

Cholangiocarcinoma, or known as bile cancer, is a cancer of the bile duct that carries bile fluid. The bile duct connects the liver to the gallbladder leading to the small intestine. It is a rare type of cancer, and usually affects people over the age of 50, although it can occur at any age.

Bile Duct Cancer Types

The doctor divides cholangiocarcinoma into 3 types, namely:

  • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: This cancer occurs in the bile ducts in the liver. It is sometimes classified as liver cancer.
  • Hilar Cholangiocarcinoma: Is a cancer that occurs in the ducts outside the liver. This type is also called perihilar cholangiocarcinoma.
  • Distal cholangiocarcinoma: This type of cancer occurs in the bile ducts near the small intestine.

Cholangiocarcinoma is a type of cancer that is difficult to treat.

Bile Duct Cancer symptoms

Early-stage cholangiocarcinoma usually does not cause symptoms. New symptoms appear when the cancerous tissue is already enlarged. People with bile duct cancer can feel different symptoms, depending on the initial location of the appearance of cancer. In general, symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma include:

  • Symptoms of jaundice, such as yellowish skin and eyes, hives, dark urine, and pale stools.
  • Abdominal pain that can spread to the back.
  • Fever.
  • Limp.
  • Weight loss.

When to see a doctor

Consult your doctor immediately if symptoms of bile duct cancer, such as jaundice, appear in order to get the right treatment.

In addition, do regular checkups with the doctor if you have diabetes or hepatitis B, so that treatment and development of the disease can be monitored. Both chronic diseases are thought to be at risk of bile duct cancer.

If you are at risk of developing hepatitis B, for example by working as a medical officer, then you need to consult a doctor to get the hepatitis B vaccine.

Bile Duct Cancer risk factors

The following factors may increase your risk of developing bile duct cancer:

  • Diseases that cause chronic inflammation of the bile ducts are primary sclerosis cholangitis, gallstones, choledochal cyst.
  • Age (parents have a higher risk)
  • Liver worm infection (parasite)
  • Family history of bile duct cancer
  • Obesity.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Exposure to thorotrast (this material was used on X-ray inspections until the 1950s)
  • Alco**hol consumption
  • Smo**king
  • Diabetes

Bile Duct Cancer diagnosis

The first part of the diagnostic process is the medical evaluation of your symptoms, medical history and physical examination by your doctor. After that, the following tests and examinations can be performed:

  • Blood test
  • CT (computed tomography) scans
  • MR (magnetic resonance) scan
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)
  • PTC (percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram)
  • PET-CT (positron emission tomography-computed tomography).

Bile Duct Cancer treatment

The treatment options for cholangiocarcinoma that will be given by the doctor depend on several consideration factors. Starting from the location and large cancer, possible side effects, the possibility of recovery, and health conditions in general. Treatment options that can be pursued are:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy, the use of rays to kill cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy, the use of drugs to kill cancer cells
  • Palliative therapy, which is an effort to control or reduce symptoms due to advanced cancer that aims to keep the patient from experiencing pain.

Although undergoing cancer treatment, sufferers can do several things to stay healthy. Stop the consumption of alco**hol and cigarettes. Fatigue is also very commonly felt by cancer patients. Sufferers can feel too tired to do activities. Although sufferers need adequate rest, doing light exercise can also help reduce fatigue.

Overall, the success rate of this type of cancer cure depends on its location and how severe the condition is when diagnosed. The bile ducts are located deep in the body, so unlike other cancers, you won’t notice symptoms in the early stages. So, from now on applying a healthy lifestyle to avoid this disease.


Last Updated on March 10, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team


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