What is cholangiocarcinoma?

Cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer is a malignant tumor in one of the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine. These tumors are usually slow growing and do not metastasize quickly. However, most are very advanced when they are detected. Cholangiocarcinoma affects people of both sexes and most patients are over 65 years of age. It is, however, a rare disease occurring in only 2 out of every 100,000 people.

What are the symptoms?

Cholangiocarcinoma obstructs the bile ducts and may cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin.
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Abdominal pain in the right upper quadrant, which may also affect the back.
  • Chills
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Severe loss of sexual appetite

Causes of cholangiocarcinoma

Cholangiocarcinoma can occur anywhere in the bile ducts, and is a rare type of tumor. The main risk factors for this disease are some such as codectric or bile duct cysts, chronic biliary and hepatic inflammation, ulcerative colitis, history of cases of infection with hepatic trematode parasites, and primary sclerosing cholangitis, which is the disease that inflames and destroys the bile ducts.

Can it be prevented?

The biliary tract tumor or cholangiocarcinoma is usually detected when it is already in an advanced stage, and some of its symptoms such as fever or abdominal pain can be confused with other diseases. At present, no preventive habits or tests have been discovered for this type of tumor. Therefore, early diagnosis is essential for a good prognosis. To diagnose cholangiocarcinoma, the medical oncologist will perform tests such as abdominal computerized tomography (CT), abdominal ultrasound,

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What does the treatment consist of?

The treatment of cholangiocarcinoma consists of treating the cancerous tumor and avoiding the obstruction it causes, so the main method is surgery to remove the tumor.

If the tumor is very large, it may require a liver transplant and removal of the entire affected organ.