Cholangiocarcinoma is a dangerous disease with a poor prognosis. The causes of cancer of the bile duct are not known. The disease often develops due to pathologies of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas. The risk factors include alcohol, fatty foods and obesity.
The disease is extremely dangerous. Even in case of early diagnostics, treatment is not always successful. A five-year survival rate in case of detection of pathology at the stage of localized cancer reaches only 13-24% (depending on the location of the primary tumor). Even in developed countries, the overall five-year survival rate is only 8-10%. To get good treatment results, a patient with cancer of the bile duct needs the help of the best doctors in the world.
Is it possible to undergo early diagnostics?
Unfortunately, there are no methods that help detect the early stage of cholangiocarcinoma in a clinically healthy person. In most cases, the disease can be detected only after the onset of symptoms of cancer of the bile duct. This is one of the factors that make it difficult to treat cholangiocarcinoma.
The bile ducts are located deep inside the human body. A tumor sometimes begins to grow directly inside the liver. Due to its small size, the imaging tests cannot recognize this neoplasm. There are also no tumor markers that could be detected in the blood and signal the onset of tumor growth.
In most cases, only the symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma become the reason for the patient's visit to the doctor. The chances of finding a tumor in an asymptomatic stage are extremely low.
The first clinical manifestation is jaundice. It develops as a result of blockage of the bile duct by a tumor. Bile cannot enter the small intestine. Due to this, the feces become white, while the skin becomes yellow, because bile goes into the bloodstream. The patient develops itchy skin and his urine becomes dark because metabolites of bilirubin entering the blood come out with it.
Other symptoms manifest themselves later:
- abdominal pain;
- loss of appetite;
- weight loss due to impaired digestion of fats;
- nausea, vomiting.
All symptoms are nonspecific. It is impossible to recognize cancer by them. In addition, cholangiocarcinoma is very rare. In most cases, obstructive jaundice and other clinical signs are caused by other pathological processes (these are mostly caused by gallstone disease).
All patients with jaundice are subject to a thorough diagnostics aimed at the determination of its origin. The tumor can be detected using the following diagnostic methods:
- Ultrasound can be used both as transabdominal ultrasound examination and as more informative endoscopic (with the placement of the sensor in the small intestine) or laparoscopic (placement of the sensor into the abdominal cavity) ultrasound.
- CT, MRI, including with angiography, cholangiography (contrast-enhanced examination of the vessels, biliary tract).
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography involves the introduction of the instrument through the duodenum, contrast-enhanced examination of the biliary tract and X-ray.
- Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography is an invasive procedure with the injection of a contrast agent into the bile duct using a needle. The next step is X-ray.
- Cholangiography involves the introduction of a tube with a camera in a retrograde manner through the duodenum.
- Laparoscopy involves the introduction of the camera into the abdominal cavity through a small incision in the abdomen.
To confirm a diagnosis, a tumor biopsy is required. It can be done with a needle during cholangiography or cholangioscopy. Sometimes doctors can also perform ultrasound or CT-guided percutaneous biopsy.
Arrangement of diagnostics and treatment
The best hospitals in the world can provide you with highly accurate diagnostics and modern treatment of cholangiocarcinoma using surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other methods. The foreign specialists perform modern surgical procedures. The Cancer Centers in developed countries have at their disposal high-quality equipment for the diagnostics and treatment of cancer of the bile duct.
The Booking Health company will help you organize your treatment in the best hospitals in the world. There you can undergo an examination, if necessary, receive surgical care or undergo chemotherapy. Our services and benefits:
- Selection of the best hospital, which specialists have achieved the best success in the fight against hepatobiliary malignancies.
- Reduced cost of examination and treatment due to the absence of extra charges and coefficients for foreign patients.
- Preparation of the program taking into account previously performed examinations.
- Appointment with a doctor on dates convenient for you.
- Communication with an attending physician.
- Control of all stages of the program, namely examination, treatment by means of surgery or chemotherapy, rehabilitation.
- Control of invoices and return of unspent funds.
- Communication with the specialists of the Cancer Center after the completion of the program.
- Buying and forwarding of medicines.
- Organization of additional examination, treatment, surgery or rehabilitation abroad.
The company's specialists will provide you with top-class services: booking of the hotel and airline tickets, transfer from the hospital to the airport and back.