Bile Duct Cancer: Overview, Symptoms, and Treatment
The bile duct cancer is very rare in the Western world.
The exact cause of bile duct cancer is unknown but certain risk factors are known to increase the chances or probability of the bile duct cancer.
For example in people who are born with certain abnormalities of the bile ducts.
Also a condition called the ulcerative colitis which is a chronic inflammatory bowel condition is said to increase the risk.
A parasitic infection called the liver fluke is known to be responsible for causing the bile duct cancer. This liver infection is more common in Africa and Asia. Like any other cancer bile duct cancer is not infectious and also cannot be carried on to other people.
Symptom of Bile Duct Cancer
The bile ducts are channels of flow of bile from the liver to the intestine so when these bile ducts are cancer affected they fail to perform their job and henceforth the bile flows back into the bloody tissues and blood.
This condition leads to adverse effects such as yellowing of eyes white region and urine, pale stools etc. Later the skin starts becoming itchy followed by high fever, pain or discomfort in the abdomen, loss of appetite and overall weight loss.
Keep in mind that all the above mentioned symptom of bile duct cancer may also be caused by other ailments or disorders. But it is important to check with a doctor if the symptoms persist for long and the condition becomes worse
Bile Duct Cancer Treatment
Any type of cancer treatment depends on certain factors such as the patient condition and the stage of the cancer similarly the case of bile duct cancer. Depending on the position and size of the cancer in the bile duct and of course keeping in mind that how far the cancer has spread to its nearby regions the bile duct treatment procedures vary.
If the bile duct cancer is found to have not spread beyond the bile ducts then the method of bile duct treatment is surgery. The type of surgery depends entirely on whether how big the cancer is and whether it is possible to remove the cancer through surgery.
Considering all the factors the bile duct cancer doctor will suggest for the best possible treatment. The various operations involved in treating the bile duct cancer are removal of bile ducts, partial resection and the Whipple’s surgery.
The former method is employed when the cancer is found within the ducts without spreading, the second procedure is used when the cancer is found to have been spread into the liver and the later procedure is employed when the cancer is wide spread into many regions.
This process involves the use of high energy x-rays to kill or control the growth of cancer cells. This is given either externally or internally. The external way of giving the radiotherapy is using a machine and the internal method involves the placement of the radioactive material inside the body near to the cancer tumor.
The use of drugs or medications for treating the bile duct cancer is called chemotherapy. This may be implemented either orally or through injections. This procedure involves the use of high dose drugs at regular intervals and cycles.
This is usually implemented as a combination with radiotherapy treatment to ensure better cure. This works sometimes as an alternative for surgery as in some complicated cases surgery may not be possible.