Medical Definition of Papilla, cancer of

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Papilla, cancer of: Cancer of a structure called the papilla or ampulla of Vater, a small muscle located at the junction where the common bile duct (carrying bile from the liver and secretions from the pancreas) empties into the duodenum (upper small intestine).

Because of its location, this cancer can cause obstruction of the common bile duct and prevent bile from flowing into the intestine and out of the body. The chemicals usually eliminated from the body in bile -- in particular, bilirubin -- accumulate in the blood and cause jaundice (yellow skin and eyes) and itching. The stool becomes light-colored and the urine dark-colored since the accumulating bilirubin (which is yellow to dark brown) is eliminated in the urine instead of the stool.

The treatment is surgical removal of the cancer. There is no effective chemotherapy for ampullary cancer.

The cause of ampullary carcinoma is unknown. Fortunately, it is rather rare.

CONTINUE SCROLLING OR CLICK HERE FOR RELATED ARTICLE
Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors