The bile duct cancer is an aggressive tumor. The untreated disease is disseminated about the neighboring organs quickly, resulting in a sharp deterioration of the patients/ condition. The main way of dealing with this pathology is surgery. Chemotherapy is used as an additional technique or in cases where the surgery is impossible.
The treatment program is designed individually, based on diagnostics findings. The survey begins with professional advice, clinical examination and case history collection. To identify the nature of the tumor and stage of its development, the following tests are prescribed to the patient:
- complete biochemical blood counts,
- blood test for tumor markers,
- abdominal ultrasound,
- CT/MRI scans of thorax and abdomen
- gastroscopy with biopsy,
- endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).
Based on these data, the physician decides the need for chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is administration of drugs having a destructive effect on tumor cells. The treatment can be recommended:
- prior to surgery (to reduce the tumor size and to facilitate the surgical manipulation)
- after surgery (to reduce the risk of relapse)
- for inoperable tumors (to inhibit the further growth).
Currently, the different combinations of cisplatin, fluorouracil, and gemcitabine are used for the bile duct cancer. The drugs are administered intravenously in the clinical setting under the supervision of medical staff. The duration and regimen is determined by the attending physician. After the course completion, the patient is given advice on further treatment.