Symptoms of bile duct cancer
Bile duct cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms often appear as the tumour grows into nearby organs, such as the liver, and causes changes. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as bile duct cancer.
The most common symptom of bile duct cancer is jaundice. Jaundice makes the skin and whites of the eyes yellow. It can also cause the urine to appear dark yellow and stool to be clay-coloured. The stool may be greasy and float in the toilet. It may also be lighter in colour.
The bile contains a yellow-green chemical called bilirubin. When bile cannot pass normally into the small intestine, the level of bilirubin increases in the body and causes jaundice. You will not be able to digest fatty foods if the cancer blocks the bile or pancreatic juice from passing into the intestine.
Other signs and symptoms of bile duct cancer include:
- itching due to jaundice
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal (belly) pain
Seeing my sister Erin – a young mother – struggle with the emotional blow and then the physical toll of cancer treatment made me want to do something to help women feel confident.
Support from someone who has ‘been there’
The Canadian Cancer Society’s peer support program is a telephone support service that matches cancer patients and their caregivers with specially trained volunteers.