What Is Cholangiocarcinoma of the Liver?
Cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer, is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that forms in the bile ducts. These ducts are thin tubes that carry digestive fluid bile from the liver to the gallbladder and the small intestine. Cholangiocarcinoma can occur in the bile ducts inside the liver (intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma) or outside the liver (extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma).
Symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma may not be noticeable in the early stages but can include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Abdominal pain, particularly in the upper right quadrant
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pale-colored stools and dark urine
Disease Aetiology (Causes)
The exact cause of cholangiocarcinoma is not well understood, but factors that may increase the risk include:
- Chronic inflammation of the bile ducts (primary sclerosing cholangitis)
- Liver fluke infection (in certain parts of the world)
- Hepatitis B or C virus infection
- Certain inherited genetic conditions
Diagnosing cholangiocarcinoma involves a combination of tests and procedures, such as:
- Blood tests to check for liver function and markers that may indicate cancer.
- Imaging tests, including ultrasound, CT scans, MRI, and MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography), to visualize the liver and bile ducts.
- Biopsy, where a small sample of tissue is removed for examination under a microscope.
Treatment for cholangiocarcinoma depends on the location of the tumor, its stage, and the patient’s overall health. Options may include:
- Surgery to remove the tumor, which may involve resection of part of the liver or bile ducts.
- Liver transplant in selected cases, especially for early-stage intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
- Radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy to slow tumor growth and manage symptoms.
- Targeted therapy and immunotherapy, which are newer treatments targeting specific aspects of cancer cells.
What support can we give for the Cholangiocarcinoma of the Liver?
Cholangiocarcinoma of the Liver is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well-known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Cholangiocarcinoma of the Liver, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
You can help us with your donation:
Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: