What are the Symptoms of Biliary Tract Cancer?


Bile duct cancer is the 5th most common cancer that can develop in the digestive system. Because the body can survive even when the gallbladder does not function, its symptoms can usually be noticed when gallbladder cancer is very advanced. Gallbladder cancer, which is mostly seen in people aged 60 and over, can progress very quickly if precautions are not taken. For this reason, early diagnosis in gallbladder is of great importance as in all other cancers. From Memorial Antalya Hospital, Department of General Surgery, Op. Dr. Türkay Belen gave information about biliary tract cancer and its treatment.

It can develop in any part of the biliary tract.

Bile duct cancer is a rare tumor consisting of bile duct wall cells. Although it develops from all parts of the biliary tract, 60% originates from the bifurcation, which is the junction of the right and left main bile ducts. The most common causes of bile duct cancer are primary sclerosing cholangitis, common duct cyst, hepatitis BC, ulcerative colitis, hepatolithiasis (liver stone), advanced age, obesity, bilienteric anastomoses and chronic typhoid carrier in old sources.

Symptoms of bile duct cancer include:

  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fire
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • darkening of urine color
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Oily and light-colored stools
  • Early detection is vital

It is very important to diagnose gallbladder cancer at an early stage. In the examination of biliary tract cancer, first of all, liver biliary tract ultrasound is performed. If enlargement of the biliary tract is observed, cross-sectional imaging with computed tomography or magnetic resonance aids in the diagnosis. Sudden termination of the bile ducts can be detected without a mass in the biliary tract. Biopsy or swab can be taken with ERCP (endoscopic retrogrand colongiopancreatography). Evaluation with EUS is also useful, especially in distal cancers. The fact that CA19-9, one of the tumor markers of the patient with clinical jaundice, itching and weight loss, is 100 U/ml also supports the diagnosis. Diagnostic methods; It is determined according to the patient's health status, age, signs of disease and previous test results.

Modern methods provide a comfortable recovery process

The level of cancer of the patients who can be operated determines the type of surgery. While hepatectomy is required for proximal cancers, whipple surgery is usually performed for distal cancers. Biliary cancer treatment is based on surgical removal of the tumor. It may also be necessary to remove part of the liver during treatment, which consists of a major surgery. Since the diagnosis of gallbladder cancer is usually made at an advanced stage, patients often do not have the chance to undergo surgery. However, cancer that is detected early ensures successful treatment of gallbladder cancer. Some endoscopic procedures, pain treatment, percutaneous drainage (radiological intervention) can be performed to relieve jaundice and pain in patients with advanced disease that cannot be operated.

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