Bile Duct Cancer - Treatment

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 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.

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