Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)


Bile duct cancers are a rare type of cancer, with 1,000 people diagnosed yearly in the UK.
The bile duct and gall bladder form what is known as the biliary system. Bile ducts carry bile from the gall bladder and liver to the small intestine, also known as the small bowel. Cancers of the biliary system are most commonly adenocarcinoma, which originates in the mucus glands of the bile ducts. However cancer can originate from part of the bile duct attached to the liver; these cancers are known as intra-hepatic (within the liver) or extra-hepatic (outside the liver).

Things to look out for

Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Pale stool
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Jaundice (skin and eye whites become yellow)
  • Irritated or itchy skin
  • Fevers
  • Weight loss and/or loss of appetite
  • Pain in the abdomen

These symptoms can be caused by a variety of medical conditions which are not necessarily bile duct cancer. However due to the nature of cancer it is imperative to rule this out as a cause.