Bile duct cancer information

Bile duct cancer, also known as cholangiocarcinoma, is rare cancer that begins in the bile duct. The bile duct is a thin tube, about four to five inches long, that connects the liver to the small intestine. The primary role of the bile duct is to move bile produced in the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine. Once bile is in the small intestine, it helps the body digest fats in the foods we eat. Bile duct cancers may develop in and around the liver.

Bile ducts have different types of tissue which can develop into cancer. Many bile duct tumors begin in glandular tissue found in the bile duct. This kind of cancer is called adenocarcinoma. Squamous carcinoma and sarcomas are other bile duct cancers that develop in the tissue.

Cancer of the bile duct can start in the bile duct and spread to other areas of the body, including the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. It can also spread to lymph nodes and other nearby organs or tissues, such as the colon, stomach, small intestine or abdominal wall.

Bile duct cancers usually develop slowly with minor signs and symptoms. Jaundice, bloating, weight loss, fever, nausea, and abdominal pain are all possible symptoms of bile duct cancer.

If you've been recently diagnosed or have general questions regarding bile duct cancer, connect with our askSARAH service, where you can speak with an experienced nurse 24-hours a day.