Fig. Bile Duct Cancer

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Bile duct cancer is a cancer that forms in the bile ducts that carry digestive fluid. Bile ducts are the organs that connect your liver to your gallbladder and to your small intestine. Bile duct cancer mostly occurs to those who are above 50 years of age.
Bile duct cancer is categorised into three different types depending on which part of the bile duct the cancer has formed.

Intrahepatic bile duct cancer: This occurs in the parts of the bile ducts within the liver.

Hilar bile duct cancer: This type of cancer occurs in the bile duct just outside of the liver.

Distal bile duct cancer: This type of cancer forms in the portion of the bile duct nearest the small intestine.


Common symptoms of bile duct cancer is

  1. Yellowing of the skin and eyes like as in jaundice
  2. White coloured stools
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Very itchy skin
  5. Fatigue
  6. Severe weight loss


A blood test is done to measure the functioning of the liver. The second test is very crucial to detect the cancer commonly known as tumor marker test. This test includes checking the level of cancer antigen (CA) 19-9 in your blood. CA 19-9 is a protein that is overproduced by bile duct cancer cells.

Treatment and Recovery:

There are different types of approaches used to treat bile duct cancer

Radiation Therapy: It uses high radiation source to kill the cancer cells.

Liver transplant: It includes remove the infected liver and replace it with the donor’s liver, this includes removing part of the bile duct and joining the cut ends.

Photodynamic therapy: In this therapy a light-sensitive chemical is injected into a vein and accumulates in fast-growing cells further killing the cancer cells.


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