Bile Duct Cancer Treatment in Tampa Bay

What is Bile Duct Cancer?

Bile duct cancer is a rare disease in which cancer cells form in the bile duct, which is a 4–5-inch tube that connects the liver, gallbladder, and small intestine. The bile duct allows bile, which is a liquid that is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, to flow into the small intestine to help break down fats found in foods. The bile duct also helps the body get rid of waste material filtered out of the bloodstream by the liver.

Nearly all bile duct cancers are cholangiocarcinomas, a type of cancer that starts in gland cells. Bile Duct Cancer is most often seen in 50–70-year-old adults and is often treatable but can be difficult to treat. Treatment depends on the size and type of bile duct cancer.

Symptoms of Bile Duct Cancer

There are no routine screening tests to check for bile duct cancer, but there are common signs and symptoms. These symptoms may be caused by bile duct cancer or by other conditions, so it’s important to check with your doctor or one of the experts at Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology if you experience these symptoms:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes)
  • Dark colored urine
  • Clay colored stool
  • Unexplained pain in the abdomen
  • Sudden or unexplained weight loss

These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by fever, nausea, vomiting and itchy skin.

While the exact causes for bile duct cancer are unknown, there are certain risk factors that can increase the chance of developing bile duct cancer. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Bile duct stones
  • Cirrhosis of the liver (usually caused by prolonged alcohol use)
  • Hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infections
  • Liver fluke infections

If you have one or more of these risk factors or experience any symptoms of bile duct cancer, it’s important to consult with your doctor, who may perform a physical exam as well as recommend testing. Testing for the presence of bile duct cancer could include lab tests, imaging tests, and other procedures to determine if cancer is present.

Treatment of Bile Duct Cancer

Treatment for bile duct cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and drug treatment therapy, or a combination of these therapies. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology offers bile duct cancer patients with advanced technology such as high-dose radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy, brachytherapy and CyberKnife radiosurgery that typically may only be found at larger academic medical facilities. Radiation therapy for bile duct cancer can be performed before or after surgery to remove tumors or as a main therapy for patients whose cancer has not spread widely throughout the body but can’t be removed with surgery.

Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about bile duct cancer and bile duct treatment options. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology has multiple free-standing Florida facilities located in the Tampa Bay area in Tampa and Brandon.