What is cancer of the bile duct?

Cancer of the bile duct

starts or originates from cells in the bile duct which grow in uncontrolled manner. This forms a big mass like lump called as tumor which can be benign or malignant. The

cancer of the bile duct

is a rare type of cancer with 1–2 cases per 100,000 cases every year. It is also called as Cholangio carcinoma. Unfortunately, this disease is diagnosed during its advanced stage. It spreads rapidly and is mostly incurable.

What is a Bile Duct?

This is a 4 to 5 inch long tube which connects the liver and gallbladder with the small intestine. This bile duct tube allows the flow of bile to the small intestine from the liver and the gallbladder. The bile is formed in liver and stored in gall bladder. This is a liquid which breaks down the fat in food and helps the body to get rid of the waste substances filtered from the blood by the liver.

Cancer of the Bile Duct: Types:

Bile duct cancer depends on the location of the tumor and the cell type involved in this cancer. There are two types of cancer associated with bile duct, namely:

  1. Extra hepatic cancer:

    The portion of the bile duct which is outside the liver is called as extra hepatic. Cancer usually starts from this part of the duct. Two third of the bile cancer occurs here. There are two subtypes of this cancer:

    • Perihilar cancer: Also called as Klatskin tumor. This begins where many small ducts joins the bile duct, at the point where they leave the liver.
    • Distal bile duct cancer: This occurs at the opposite side of perihilar cancer. This is the place from where the bile duct releases to the small intestine. Nearly one fourth of cancer related to this originates from this site.
  2. Intra hepatic cancer:

    The duct which is inside the liver is called as intra hepatic. About 5 to 10 percent of bile tube cancer is intra hepatic.

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