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Cholangiocarcinoma (Bile duct cancer), like any other cancer, leaves a person physically, mentally and emotionally drained. It has been mostly found to affect people above 60 years of age. The signs and symptoms associated are so common that very few people consult a physician. A delayed diagnosis implies delayed treatment. This goes on to aggravate and complicate the situation further. One needs to be a little alert. Any symptoms, no matter how common, should not be taken lightly. Look for the early signs and symptoms and bile duct cancer can be fully cured.
Signs and symptoms associated with Cholangiocarcinoma:
Bile duct cancer can be Extrahepatic (occurs in the duct outside the liver) or Intrahepatic (cancer develops within the smaller ducts inside the liver). It must be noted that Intrahepatic Bile duct cancer and Liver cancer are different.
- Bile duct cancer results in blocking the bile duct. This blockage severely effects the secretion of bilirubin and bile from the liver. Thus, the secretions (bile and bilirubin) which are supposed to flow into the intestine move back into the bloodstream. An elevated level of bilirubin in the blood gives rise to a condition, known as Jaundice (a condition resulting in yellowing of the eyes and the skin). The problem lies in the fact that many other factors can equally contribute to Jaundice. Consulting a physician at the earliest is the best resort.
- A sudden or drastic weight loss and loss of appetite is an alarming sign of Cholangiocarcinoma.
- Excessive itching can be an indication of something as big as bile duct cancer. Itching can be an outcome of the increased bilirubin (blood) reaching the skin.
- At an advanced stage of Cholangiocarcinoma, a patient may experience severe abdominal pain.
- At times, the tumour in the bile duct might exert immense pressure on the nearby organs. This can give rise to an enlarged abdominal mass. Bloated feeling is also very common amongst the patients.
- An unusual change in the colour of the stool and urine should not be neglected. The elevated bilirubin level from the intestine is usually eliminated out of the system through the urine. Thus the stool appears lighter and the urine a shade darker.
- A cholangiocarcinoma patient can, at times feel nauseated. Fever is also a common but an extremely important indication.
Bile duct cancer or cholangiocarcinoma can lead to many other complications. Click below to know every minute detail associated with Cholangiocarcinoma.