Bile duct Cancer , also known as Cholangiocarcinoma, is a type of cancer that forms in the slender tubes (bile ducts) that carry the digestive fluid bile. Bile ducts connect your liver to your gallbladder and to your small intestine.
Cholangiocarcinoma can be divided into different types based on where the cancer occurs in the bile ducts:
Cholangiocarcinoma happens when cells in the bile ducts develop changes in their DNA. A cell's DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The changes tell the cells to multiply out of control and form a mass of cells (tumor) that can invade and destroy healthy body tissue. It's not clear what causes the changes that lead to cholangiocarcinoma.
Factors that may increase your risk of cholangiocarcinoma include:
Signs and symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma include:
Treatment for bile duct cancer depends upon where the cancer is located and whether it is possible for it to be completely removed by surgery. Unfortunately, those affected with this cancer tend to be older and may be unable to tolerate and recover from a significant operation. The decision regarding surgery needs to be individualized for the specific patient and their situation.
Other treatment options tend to be palliative, not curative, and are meant to preserve quality of life. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be options that are suggested to treat bile duct cancer.