Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is a rare cancer that starts in the lining of the bile duct.
We hope this information answers your questions. If you have any further questions, you can ask your doctor or nurse at the hospital where you are having your treatment.
The bile ducts
The bile ducts are part of the digestive system. They are the tubes that connect the liver and gall bladder to the small bowel. Bile ducts carry bile, which breaks down fats in food to help us digest them. Bile is made by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. The bile ducts and gall bladder together are known as the biliary system.
Bile duct cancer can affect any part of the bile ducts. These ducts are named depending on their position in the body:
- intra-hepatic – the bile ducts inside the liver
- extra-hepatic – the bile ducts outside the liver.
The extra-hepatic bile ducts are divided into two parts:
- hilar – where the left and right hepatic ducts meet, just below the liver
- distal – the lower part of the bile ducts, nearest to the bowel.