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Cholangiocarcinomas (bile duct cancer)

Cholangiocarcinomas (bile duct cancer) - Symptoms

​Extrahepatic CCAs usually become symptomatic when the tumour obstructs the bile duct drainage system. Symptoms related to biliary obstruction include:

  • Yellowing of skin and eye (jaundice)
  • Itchy skin (pruritus)
  • Clay-coloured stools
  • Tea-coloured urine

Other common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Chills

The pain is generally described as a constant dull ache in the right upper abdomen.  Malaise, fatigue, and night sweats may be present at times.

Intrahepatic CCAs may present differently as the tumour is in the liver. Affected patients are less likely to be jaundiced. They may have a history of dull right upper quadrant pain, weight loss, and an abnormal liver test (e.g. elevated alkaline phosphatase)

Some patients will have mild or no symptoms. It may be detected by chance as a result of an scan for other problems. Occasionally, there may be vague symptoms of heaviness or discomfort in the right side of the abdomen. Pain and poor appetite or weight loss or fatigue are usually late symptoms.

Other uncommon presentations include abdominal distension due to fluid accumulation (ascites) or breathlessness due to the cancer spreading (metastasis) to the other parts of the body e.g. bone and internal lining of the abdomen(peritoneum).

Cholangiocarcinomas (bile duct cancer) - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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