Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Bile duct cancer

What is bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma)?

Next to gallstones, cancer is the most common cause of bile duct obstruction. Most bile duct cancers come from cancers that originated in the pancreas.

What are the symptoms of bile duct cancer?

The following are the most common symptoms of bile duct cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Itching

The symptoms of bile duct cancer may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

What is biliary cirrhosis?

Biliary cirrhosis is a rare form of liver cirrhosis caused by disease or defects of the bile ducts. Symptoms usually include cholestasis (accumulation of bile in the liver). There are two types of biliary cirrhosis:

  • Primary biliary cirrhosis – inflammation and destruction of bile ducts in the liver.
  • Secondary biliary cirrhosis – results from prolonged bile duct obstruction or narrowing or closure of the bile duct.