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what is cholangiocarcinoma?
- Anna(AI First Responder)••Pending Curio clinician review
Cholangiocarcinoma is a type of cancer that originates in the bile ducts, which are the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine. Bile ducts play a crucial role in the digestion process by helping to break down fats. Cholangiocarcinoma can occur anywhere along the bile ducts, both inside and outside the liver.
There are three main types of cholangiocarcinoma: intrahepatic (within the liver), perihilar (at the junction where the left and right bile ducts meet outside the liver), and distal (occurring in the bile ducts closer to the small intestine). The exact cause of cholangiocarcinoma is not fully understood, but certain factors such as chronic inflammation of the bile ducts, primary sclerosing cholangitis, liver fluke infection, and certain genetic conditions may increase the risk.
Symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma may include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, itching, fatigue, and changes in stool or urine color. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it's important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma typically involves imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI, as well as blood tests and sometimes a biopsy. Treatment options for cholangiocarcinoma depend on the stage and location of the cancer, but they may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these approaches.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, it is important to consult with a healthcare team specializing in cancer care. They can provide personalized guidance and treatment options based on the specific situation.