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Also known as the bile duct cancer, the Cholangiocarcinoma is an aggressive form of cancer that mostly affects elderly people. It is a very rare type of cancer that presents initial symptoms similar to that of jaundice. Along with the yellow skin and eyes, the patients of this condition also experience extremely itchy skin, abdominal pain, lumps in the abdominal area, pale or white stools and dark urine. There is also general weakness and sudden weight loss.
HOW IS CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA DIAGNOSED?
The health care practitioner will do a physical examination and suggest a few tests to check for tumor or blockage in the bile duct. The health care provider will perform a physical exam. Tests will be done to check for symptoms. The tests include:
• Abdominal CT scan
• Abdominal ultrasound
• CT scan-directed biopsy
• Cytology of samples from the bile duct
• Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
• Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
• Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA)
• Liver function tests (especially alkaline phosphatase or bilirubin levels)
HOW IS CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA TREATED?
The treatment will be based on the administration of adjuvant chemotherapy as well as radiation by the Oncologist. Palliative chemotherapy will be required for patients who are already in very advanced stages of the disease.
DID YOU KNOW?
Diagnosis can also be done with a biopsy of the tissue extracted during a surgical process.