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Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is rare. About 8,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with it each year. This includes both intrahepatic (inside the liver) and extrahepatic (outside the liver) bile duct cancers. But the actual number of cases is likely to be higher, because these cancers can be hard to diagnose, and some might be misclassified as other types of cancer.
Bile duct cancer is more common in Southeast Asia, mostly because a parasitic infection that can cause bile duct cancer is much more common there.
Bile duct cancer is seen mainly in older people, but it can occur in younger people. The average age of people in the US diagnosed with cancer of the intrahepatic (inside the liver) bile ducts is 70, and for cancer of the extrahepatic (outside the liver) bile ducts it's 72.
The chances of survival for patients with bile duct cancer depend to a large extent on its location and how advanced it is when it's found. For more on this, see Survival Statistics for Bile Duct Cancers.
Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.
The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2023. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2023.
Antwi SO, Mousa OY, Patel T. Racial, ethnic, and age disparities in incidence and survival of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma in the United States: 1995-2014. Annals of Hepatology. 2018;17(2):274-285.
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bishop K, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD. Accessed at https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2014/, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2017.
Last Revised: January 12, 2023
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