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Tulane Liver & Pancreas Center ~ Bile Duct Cancer

Cholangiocarcinoma is cancer that forms in the slender tubes (bile ducts) that carry the digestive fluid bile. This condition, also known as bile duct cancer, is an uncommon form of cancer that occurs mostly in people older than age 50, though it can occur at any age.

Causes

  • Bile duct cysts 
  • Chronic biliary system inflammation
  • Ulcerative colitis,
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Abdominal pain that radiates to the back
  • Jaundice
  • Clay-colored stools
Diagnosis

  • Liver function tests
  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA)
Treatment

  • Surgery is often the preferred treatment. If the tumor cannot be removed surgically stents can be placed in the bile ducts in order to relieve blockages in the bile ducts.
  • Chemotherapy and/or Radiation treatment