Cholangiocarcinoma

Below you will find more information about Cholangiocarcinoma from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Cholangiocarcinoma it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Cholangiocarcinoma and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Cholangiocarcinoma comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.

Definition

Cholangiocarcinoma is a kind of cancer affecting the bile ducts. It is a rare form of cancer linked with other diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis, congenital liver dysfunction, and infection with liver flukes.

Treatment

Cholangiocarcinoma is treated only by undergoing surgery. It could be fatal when the tumor is not surgically removed. When the liver is greatly damaged due to the tumor, a liver transplant would be required. Adjuvant chemotherapy as well as radiation therapy is taken after the surgery in order to improve the patient's recovery. However, adjuvant chemotherapy becomes ineffective when the tumor could not removed. Because of this a combination of adjuvant therapy and radiotherapy is recommended. Photodynamic therapy meanwhile is used to treat advanced cholangiocarcinoma, but this method is still under observation. It involves a light-sensitizing agent used to apply the light endoscopically to the tumor. Positive results have been shown after some trials, but it still needs further study.

Symptoms and Signs

One of the most common signs of cholangicarcinoma is jaundice. This yellowing of the skin and eyes is a result of the blocked bile ducts caused by the tumor. Other symptoms are generalized itching, pain in the abdomen, weight loss and fever. Sometimes patients experience excruciating pain when the tumor develops outside the bile ducts. Patients with the said disease often exhibit an obstructive image of their liver after undergoing a blood test of liver function. This picture of the liver often shows increased levels of bilirubin, gamma glutamyl transferase, and alkaline phosphate.

Epidemiology

Being a rare form kind of cancer, cholangiocarcinoma occurs at about 1-2 cases per 100,000 people each year. The occurrence of cholangiocarcinoma increases with age, and it affects men more than women. People with primary sclerosing cholangitis are as well prone to acquiring cholangiocarcinoma, according to autopsy reports. Other cases, particularly those in Asia, attribute the cancer to endemic chonic parasitic infestation.

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