Can bile duct cancer be prevented?
There is no known way to prevent most bile duct cancers in the United States. Many of the known risk factors for bile duct cancer, such as age, ethnicity, and bile duct abnormalities, are beyond our control. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk.
Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is one important way a person may reduce their risk of bile duct cancer, as well as many other types of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that people try to stay at a healthy weight throughout life by being active and eating a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods. This includes at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits every day. Choose whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals instead of refined grains. Eat fish, poultry, or beans and limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat. To learn more, see the American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.
Other ways that people may be able to reduce their risk of bile duct cancer include:
- Get vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus (HBV) to prevent infection with this virus and the cirrhosis it can cause.
- Take precautions to avoid blood-borne or sexually transmitted infections by HBV and other viruses (like hepatitis C virus) to help prevent cirrhosis.
- Treat hepatitis infections (such as B and C) to help prevent cirrhosis.
- Avoid excessive alcohol use to help prevent cirrhosis.
- Quit (or don’t start) smoking.
- Avoid exposure to certain chemicals (see the section “What are the risk factors for bile duct cancer?”).
Last Medical Review: 11/01/2014
Last Revised: 01/20/2016