Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma) (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What is the treatment for bile duct cancer?

Comment on this

Treatment for bile duct cancer depends upon where the cancer is located and whether it is possible to be completely removed by surgery. Unfortunately, those afflicted tend to be older and may be unable to tolerate and recover from a significant operation. The decision regarding surgery needs to be individualized for the specific patient and their situation.

Other treatment options tend to be palliative, not curative, and are meant to preserve quality of life. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have their place. Photodynamic therapy is another alternative to help shrink the tumor and control symptoms.

ERCP may be used to stent the bile duct, keeping it open to allow bile drainage from the liver and gallbladder into the intestine. This is often very helpful in controlling symptoms, but does not treat the tumor itself.

As with all cancers, the treatment is individualized for the patient. Discussion between the patient, health care professional, and family are important to help understand treatment options, including cure versus palliation or symptom control and quality of life. The patient's wishes are key.

What is the prognosis for bile duct cancer?

How well a patient does after the diagnosis of bile duct cancer depends upon many factors, including where the tumor is located, if and how much it has spread, and the patient's underlying general health. Typically, bile duct cancers have a poor prognosis and the 5-year survival rate for a cancer that can be completely resected is less than 50%.

National Cancer Institute statistics list the following 5-year survival rates:

Intrahepatic (Within the Liver) Bile Duct Cancer
Stage 5-Year Relative Survival
Localized (Stage 1) 15%
Regional spread (Stage 2, 3) 6%
Distant spread (Stage 4) 2%

Extrahepatic (Outside the Liver) Bile Duct Cancer
Stage 5-Year Relative Survival
Localized (Stage 1) 30%
Regional spread (Stage 2, 3) 24%
Distant spread (Stage 4) 2%
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Bile Duct Cancer - Treatment Question: What kind of treatment did you have for bile duct cancer?
Bile Duct Cancer - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you have when you were diagnosed with bile duct cancer?
Bile Duct Cancer - Stage Question: What stage is your bile duct cancer?

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!