Bile duct cancer is a rare disease where malignant cells (cancer) form in the bile ducts. A network of tubes, called channels, connects the liver, gallbladder and small intestine. This network begins in the liver, where many small channels accumulate in yellow (the fluid made by the liver to break down fat during digestion). Small channels join to form left and right hepatic ducts that leave the liver. The two channels meet outside the liver and form the common hepatic duct. The cystic duct connects the gall bladder to the common hepatic duct. The liver yolk passes through the hepatic ducts, the common hepatic duct and the cystic duct and is stored in the gallbladder. When food is digested, the bile is stored in the gall bladder and passes through the cystic duct to the bile duct and the small intestine. Bile duct cancer is also called cholangiocarcinoma.
There are two types of cancer of the bile ducts:
- Intrahepatic bile duct cancer
- Extrahepatic bile duct cancer
The signs of cancer in the common bile duct include jaundice and abdominal pain. These signs and symptoms can be instigated by cancer of the bile ducts or other conditions. Check with your medic if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or white eyes).
- Dark urine.
- Color of mud stool
- Stomach ache
- Itchy skin
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Weight loss for an unknown reason.