Bile Duct Cancer - Treatment

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What kind of treatment did you have for bile duct cancer?

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What is the treatment for bile duct cancer?

Treatment for bile duct cancer depends upon where the cancer is located and whether it is possible for it to be completely removed by surgery. Unfortunately, those afflicted with this cancer 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.

Return to Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Lulabop, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I was diagnosed with inoperable intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) in January 2015. I had a biliary stent fitted to drain bile from my liver and vein stents put in to relieve the pressure that the tumor was putting on the hepatic veins. I have had 4 rounds of gem citations/cisplatin chemotherapy. CT scan in May showed stable disease which means there is no change size-wise in the tumor following the chemotherapy. It is now June 2015 and I am feeling reasonably well. I am on permanent antibiotics due to recurring infections of the biliary stent but apart from that am currently not receiving treatment. I am due to have another scan in August 2015. Following this I may have further chemotherapy.

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Comment from: Wauda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 03

I was diagnosed in 2008 with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, stage IV. I had a large mass in left lobe of liver. Gall bladder and left liver lobe were resected and I had adjuvant chemotherapy treatment. I was stable for two years. Four tumors showed in right liver lobe. It was inoperable at this point. I had chemotherapy treatments to reduce size for embolization. Not much change. I had radiation bead embolization via angiocatheter. The bile duct cancer was rendered inactive. I have been stable for four years this December. I will have MRI scan in January to check status. I am sharing this so that others may discuss radiation bead therapy with their oncologist. The procedure can also be repeated if needed.

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