Bile Duct (Cholangiocarcinoma) Cancer

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Can bile duct cancer be found early?

Only a small number of bile duct cancers are found before they have spread too far to be completely removed by surgery.

The bile duct is located deep inside the body, so early tumors cannot be seen or felt by health care providers during routine physical exams. There are currently no blood tests or other tests that can reliably detect bile duct cancers early enough to be useful as screening tests. Without effective screening tests, most bile duct cancers are found only when the cancer has grown enough to cause symptoms. The most common symptom is jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is caused by a blocked bile duct


Last Medical Review: 10/30/2013
Last Revised: 10/30/2013