Chemotherapy for bile duct cancer
Chemotherapy is usually used to help control symptoms when surgery is not possible. Sometimes it is given after surgery to reduce risk of the cancer coming back.
Sometimes chemotherapy is given after surgery to remove the cancer. The aim is to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. This is called adjuvant treatment. The treatment usually involves 8 cycles of chemotherapy with capecitabine tablets. It takes about 6 months.
If your doctor offers you chemotherapy after surgery, they will talk to you about the possible benefits and disadvantages. This can help you decide whether to have this treatment.
Chemotherapy drugs may cause side effects. But they can also make you feel better. This is because they help improve the symptoms caused by the cancer. Most people have some side effects, but they can usually control these with medicines. The side effects usually stop when treatment has finished. You can talk to your doctor or nurse about what to expect from your treatment.
We have more information about the side effects of chemotherapy.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our bile duct cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Valle JW, Borbath I, Khan SA, et al. Biliary cancer: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Ann Oncol, 2016; 27, suppl 5, v28-v37. Available from www.doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdw324 (accessed October 2019).
Rizvi S, Khan A, Hallemeier C, et al. Cholangiocarcinoma - evolving concepts and therapeutic strategies. Clinical Oncology, 2018; 15, 2, 95-111. Available from www.doi.org/10.1038/nrclinonc.2017.157 (accessed October 2019).
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Dr Paul Ross, Consultant Medical Oncologist.
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