Bile Duct Cancer

Bile duct cancer, also called cholangiocarcinoma, is cancer that begins in the cells of the bile ducts.

Symptoms

Early signs and symptoms of bile duct cancer usually do not tend to show themselves until the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage. However, when symptoms do appear, they may include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Itchy skin
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes, known as jaundice
  • Clay colored bowel movements and/or dark urine
  • Pain in the abdomen

Diagnosis

In addition to all major cancer screening and diagnosis methods, we also offer these techniques when testing for bile duct cancer:

  • Serum Tumor Marker Test – A procedure in which a sample of blood is examined to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs, tissues, or tumor cells in the body.
  • Liver Function Tests – A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by the liver. A higher than normal amount of a substance can be a sign of bile duct cancer.
  • Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography – Imaging of the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder, pancreas and pancreatic ducts using MRI.

Treatment

Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are treatment options for bile duct cancer. Your care team will work with you to determine your exact course of treatment. Learn more about treatment options.