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Cholangiocarcinoma also known as bile duct cancer is a form of cancer that originates from one of the ducts that carries bile from the liver to small intestine. These tumours are usually slow-growing and do not spread quickly. Symptoms are:
• Clay-coloured stools
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Yellowing of skin
• Pain in the upper right abdomen
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 primary aim is to treat the cancer and the blockage it causes. A surgery to remove the tumor is the treatment of choice and may result in a cure. Chemotherapy or radiation may be given after surgery to decrease the risk of the cancer returning. Endoscopic therapy with stent placement can temporarily relieve blockages in the biliary ducts. Laser therapy combined with light-activated chemotherapy medications is another treatment option for those with blockages of the bile duct.
DID YOU KNOW?
Liver failure is a possible complication of Cholangiocarcinoma