Biliary tract cancer

Biliary tract cancer

Biliary Tract Cancer involves cancerous growths in the gallbladder and/or the bile duct. The uncontrolled epithelial cell growth occurs in the inner lining of the gallbladder and bile duct. These cancerous tumours block the flow of bile as it grows. Biliary Tract Cancer only make up only 2 to 3 percent of all cancers, hence, it is very rare. It is most likely for people that are 60 to 70 years of age to be diagnosed with this cancer, and more common in men. Obesity may also increase the risk of getting biliary tract cancer. Procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging, endoscopic ultrasonography, bile duct biopsy are usually performed to clearly detect cancerous cells in the organs. The only diagnosis of biliary tract cancer is to surgically remove the gallbladder. However, treatment using chemotherapy is currently under research and testing.

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Symptoms

"'¤ Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin, sclera, and mucous membranes)
¤ Fever
¤ A lump in upper right part of the abdomen
¤ Nausea
¤ Weight Loss
¤ Upper abdominal discomfort
¤ Itching
¤ Abdominal pain and swelling
¤ Dark-colored urine
¤ Diarrhea (caused by unabsorbed fats)
¤ Increased cholesterol (results from the absence of bile)

Procedures for Screening and Monitoring

There are several procedures that can detect and monitor biliary tract cancer.
¤ Ultrasound (cyclic sound pressure)
¤ CT Scan (Computed Tomography; generates a 3-dimensional image of the body with the use of X-rays)
¤ MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging; produces images of the body and targets soft tissue)
¤ Cholangiography (process that specifically targets the bile duct with the use of X-rays)
Other common procedures include blood tests, endoscopic examination, and exploratory laparotomy.

References

Hsing, A.W. British Journal of Cancer 12/3/2007, Vol. 97 Issue 11, p1577-1582
Kondo, S. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery 15 (1): 41-54 2008
Miyazaki, M. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery 15 (1): 15-24 2008
Tsukada, K. Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery 15 (1): 31-40 2008
[http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/gallbladder/healthprofessional/allpages/print] Gallbladder Cancer Treatment National Cancer Institute


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