Cholangiocarcinoma is a type of cancer that affects the bile duct, a tube-like structure that carries bile to the intestines to aid with digestion. Also called bile duct cancer, cholangiocarcinoma generally does not produce any symptoms in its early stages. Cholangiocarcinoma symptoms typically develop if a tumor on the bile duct causes a blockage, resulting in bilirubin backing up into the bloodstream and ending up in different areas of the body. This can cause symptoms such as:
- Jaundice, which causes the skin and whites of the eyes to turn yellow
- Itchy skin, due to the high levels of bilirubin in the skin
- Dark urine, if bilirubin in the blood is eliminated in the urine
- Abdominal pain, caused by the bile duct blockage
- Greasy or light-colored stools, if bilirubin is not reaching the intestines to aid with digestion
What should I do if I have cholangiocarcinoma symptoms?
Having one or more symptoms associated with cholangiocarcinoma does not necessarily mean you have bile duct cancer. Gallstones and other conditions are much more common and can cause similar symptoms. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult a physician to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Whether you are experiencing cholangiocarcinoma symptoms or have already been diagnosed with bile duct cancer, you can find the diagnostic, treatment and supportive care services you require at Moffitt Cancer Center. The multispecialty team that makes up our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program collaborates as a tumor board, and every patient at Moffitt receives a treatment plan that has been tailored to his or her unique needs. This individualized approach to treatment helps lead to better outcomes and an improved quality of life for our patients.