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Carcinoma of the Biliary Tract

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Normal

Abnormal
  • Usually found when a surgeon is looking for gallstone disease. It tends to grow slowly but silently, so it may have already invaded into the liver by the time it is found. Symptoms often do not occur until the disease is advanced.

  • Yellow skin
  • Yellow eyes
  • Pain in right upper abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever/chills
  • Diffuse skin itching

  • Unknown
  • Gallstones are found, but there is no clear association with the development of cancer
  • Women have higher rate of this cancer than men.

  • Examination:
    1. Yellow skin
    2. Yellow eyes
    3. Mass felt in right upper abdomen
    4. Enlarged liver
    5. Ascites (fluid in abdomen)
  • Laboratory findings:
    1. Elevated Bilirubin level
    2. Elevated Alkaline phosphatase level
    3. Cholesterol is elevated
    4. CA 19-9 (a cancer marker) may be elevated
  • Tests
    1. ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiography)
    2. Percutaneous trans-hepatic cholangiography
    3. Both tests are ways to look at the gallbladder, and perform a biopsy on it.

  • Surgical resection

  • See your physician immediately. If this condition is caught early, there is a good chance for survival. Unfortunately, since it often does not have symptoms until late in the disease, it often proves fatal. If you have any suspicion, see your doctor as soon as possible.




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