Extrahepatic Bile Duct Cancer

At a Glance

  • Extrahepatic bile duct cancer is a form of cancer that forms in the part of the bile duct that is outside the liver.
  • Risk factors include having any of the following disorders: primary sclerosing cholangitis, chronic ulcerative colitis, choledochal cysts, infection with a Chinese liver fluke parasite.
  • Possible signs of extrahepatic bile duct cancer include jaundice, pain in the abdomen, fever, itchy skin.
  • It is uncommon and curable by surgery in fewer than 10 percent of all cases.

Anatomy

A network of bile ducts connects the liver and the gallbladder to the small intestine. This network begins in the liver where many small ducts collect bile, a fluid made by the liver to break down fats during digestion. The small ducts come together to form the right and left hepatic bile ducts, which lead out of the liver. The two ducts join outside the liver to become the common hepatic duct. The part of the common hepatic duct that is outside the liver is called the extrahepatic bile duct. The extrahepatic bile duct is joined by a duct from the gallbladder to form the common bile duct. Bile is released from the gallbladder through the common bile duct into the small intestine when food is being digested.

Risk Factors

Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Risk factors include having any of the following disorders:
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis.
  • Chronic ulcerative colitis.
  • Choledochal cysts.
  • Infection with a Chinese liver fluke parasite.

Signs and Symptoms

Possible signs of extrahepatic bile duct cancer include:
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes).
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Fever.
  • Itchy skin
If you have symptoms or increased risk factors diagnosis of extrahepatic bile duct cancer, contact us to request an appointment with Diablo Valley Oncology’s doctors.