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Healthcare: Cancer Care

About Bile Duct Cancer

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What You Need to Know About Bile Duct Cancer

The bile ducts are a series of tubes that reach from the liver to the small intestine. The bile ducts move bile from the liver and the gallbladder to the small intestine where it helps digest the fats in food. Cancers can develop in any part of the bile duct system.

Physicians in the Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center offer compassionate, patient-centered care and the latest techniques for the treatment of bile duct cancer. Our multidisciplinary approach is aimed at providing you the best chance for cure and maximizing quality of life, avoiding a permanent ostomy whenever possible. If you have questions or want to make an appointment, call (713) 798-2262.

Prevention and Risk Factors

Preventative steps can help lower your risk of bile duct cancer. These include getting vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus, eating a healthy diet, maintaining an active lifestyle, and limiting alcohol and tobacco use.

Risk factors that can increase your chances of getting bile duct cancer include:

  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • Chronic inflammation of the bile ducts
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Biliary parasites
  • Diabetes
  • Family history

 

Symptoms

Bile duct cancer is not always symptomatic. As the cancer develops, patients may notice:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Bloating

Screening and Diagnosis

Bile duct cancer can be diagnosed through:

  • Blood test
  • Imaging tests
  • Biopsy

Once the results have been reviewed, your physician will provide a recommended treatment plan.

Treatment

The stage of your cancer will affect your treatment plan. The stage is determined by the size of the tumor and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Treatments can include: