Cancer of the bile duct (cholangiocarcinoma) is a rare type of cancer that mainly affects adults aged over 65.
Bile ducts are small tubes that connect the liver and small intestine. They allow fluid called bile to flow from the liver, through the pancreas, to the gut, where it helps with digestion. Cancer can affect any part of these ducts.
Bile duct cancer can sometimes be cured if caught very early on, but it’s not usually picked up until a later stage, when a cure isn’t possible.
The main treatments for bile duct cancer are:
- Surgery to remove the affected area – this is only suitable for a small number of people, but could get rid of the cancer completely.
- Inserting a hollow tube (stent) into the bile duct to stop it becoming blocked – this can help relieve symptoms such as jaundice.
- chemotherapy – where medication is given to stop the cancer cells growing and to relieve your symptoms.
- radiotherapy – where a beam of radiation is carefully aimed at the cancer cells to stop them growing and to relieve your symptom.