Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)
Bile is a substance that is stored in the gallbladder and is used to help metabolize fats during the digestion process. The bile duct connects the liver (where bile is made) and gallbladder (where bile is stored) to the small intestine to be used for this process. Bile duct cancer, or Cholangiocarcinoma, is any type of cancer that originates within this passageway. Cancer may occur at any point within the bile duct, and there are three main types of this disease. Extrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma occurs in the section of duct outside of the liver. It is the most common form and is also the most treatable. Hilar Cholangiocarcinoma occurs where the two hepatic ducts merge together. Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma occurs in the section of duct located within the liver. This is the rarest form and is also the most difficult to treat. Bile duct cancer affects about 8,000 people in the United States per year.