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
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.