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Bile duct cancer

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If bile duct cancer spreads

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from the extrahepatic bile duct to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis. The tumours are also called metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Metastases are also called secondary tumours.

Understanding the usual progression of cancer helps the doctor to predict its probable course, plan treatment and anticipate further care.

The most common sites where extrahepatic bile duct cancer spreads are:

  • liver and blood vessels of the liver
  • nearby lymph nodes (regional lymph nodes)
  • gallbladder
  • pancreas
  • duodenum – the first part of the small intestine
  • other structures or organs in the abdomen, such as the peritoneumperitoneumThe membrane that lines the walls of the abdomen and pelvis (parietal peritoneum), and covers and supports most of the abdominal organs (visceral peritoneum).
  • distant lymph nodes
  • lung – uncommon
  • bone – uncommon
  • brain – uncommon


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The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.

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