Pancreas Conditions

Distal Bile Duct Tumors

Bile duct cancer, also called cholangiocarcinoma, is a relatively rare but fast-moving and lethal form of cancer. There are only about 5,000 new cases of cholangiocarcinoma each year, and it is a difficult cancer to cure. Most bile duct tumors occur in or near the liver, but distal bile duct tumors occur farther along the bile duct, near where it meets the pancreatic duct and empties into the small intestine.

Depending on a number of factors, including the size and extent of the cancer, surgical resection using the Whipple procedure or, in rare circumstances, chemotherapy and radiation with liver transplantation may be recommended. Because of proximity, resection of distal bile duct tumors often also includes removal of part of the pancreas. If the cancer has spread and surgery is no longer a viable treatment option, distal bile duct tumors can be managed, though not cured, with treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy and radiation may also be used following resection surgery. This is called adjuvant therapy.

Pancreas Treatments