Jefferson Health

Cholangiocarcinoma (Bile Duct Cancer)

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About 10 to 20 percent of liver cancers start in the small bile ducts within the liver. Also known as cholangiocarcinoma, bile duct cancer is often treated the same way as hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of primary liver cancer that develops in the main type of liver cell.

If you are diagnosed with bile duct cancer, the experienced team at the Pancreatic, Biliary and Related Cancer Center at Jefferson can carefully guide you through available options to devise a personalized treatment plan that addresses all your medical, emotional and spiritual needs. The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center and home to internationally renowned cancer physicians and research scientists. Your medical team will help you weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment, so you can choose the option that is best for you.

The Center's physicians and scientists have helped pioneer new approaches to cancer treatment by translating scientific discoveries into improved patient care. Our physicians are experienced in using the most advanced treatment methods and technologies and are at the forefront of developing new chemotherapies. Jefferson is also home to the region's busiest radiation oncology center and one of the largest programs for cancer treatment in the Delaware Valley.

Advanced Treatment Options

Some of the advanced bile duct/liver cancer treatment options available at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson include:

  • An innovative technique for safely removing up to 75 percent of a cancerous liver without the need for blood transfusion. This bloodless technique may help to improve survival rates and reduce the length of hospital stays and infections.
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), an innovative approach to destroying inoperable primary or metastatic liver tumors by delivering high-frequency electrical currents into a tumor via a needle electrode, which destroys cancerous cells through heat
  • Radioembolization, a breakthrough treatment that delivers radiation directly to liver tumors via microscopic glass bubbles filled with a radioactive material called yttrium-90. These tiny bubbles cut off blood supply to the tumor and destroy cancerous cells that cannot be treated by other means.

A Support Network

Additionally, we will provide you and your family a support network that includes specially trained nurses, educators, fellow patients and cancer survivors. Among the wide variety of support programs offered at Jefferson is our Buddy Program, which matches cancer patients with trained volunteer cancer survivors who have been through treatment themselves. These volunteers provide one-on-one support either over the telephone or on-site in the waiting area at the Bodine Center for Radiation Therapy.

You can also access services to meet your emotional and psychological needs during your course of treatment through the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health.