Symptoms of Cholangiocarcinoma

Symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma develop in the bile duct. It is a rare disease affecting this tube like structure, which carries the bile juices of the liver to the small intestine, during the process of digestion. 2 individuals out of 1 lac people get affected with this cancer, as every year, only 2,000 to 3,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States.

Though the tumor behind the signs remains localized and spreads to the other areas slowly, the diagnosis is often done late. Men are slightly at higher risk of developing this condition than in women. Incidences are higher in the elderly people above the age of 65 years. If the tumor is removed, 30-40 percent people survive for more than 5 years and is a possibility of complete cure as well. Without complete removal of the tumor, treatment provides 50 percent chance of survival for one year. This article focuses on the signs of this dreadful disease.

Symptoms of Cholangiocarcinoma:

  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin or jaundice
  • Unexplained weight loss observed in 30-50 percent cases
  • Itching observed in 66 percent cases
  • Clay coloured stools
  • Abdominal pain observed in 30-50 percent patients
  • Back pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever seen in 20 percent cases
  • Loss of appetite
  • Liver failure is a complication
  • There is always a danger of the tumor spreading the disease to fresh locations in the body or metastasis

Symptoms of bile duct cancer are diagnosed through the techniques like Ultrasound and CT scan of the abdomen, cytology, CT scan-directed biopsy, Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA), Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and liver function tests to find the levels of a substance bilirubin.

There has been a rise in the incidences of the symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma in the recent times. The reasons are however unclear. Prevalence of risk factors like infection of HIV can be partly responsible for this tendency.

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