Bile ducts are a network of tubes connecting the liver, gallbladder, and small intestine. Their purpose is to transport bile, a fluid made in the liver. Bile breaks down fats during digestion.
This network, starting in the liver, is where many small ducts collect bile. They merge to form the right and left hepatic ducts, which lead out of the liver and unite again to form the common hepatic duct. The cystic duct connects the gallbladder to what's called the common hepatic duct. Bile from the liver then passes through the hepatic ducts, common hepatic duct, and cystic duct and is stored in the gallbladder.
Bile duct cancer, also called biliary cancer or cholangiocarcinoma, can grow in any part of the bile ducts. Bile duct cancers are named for where they start. Each type can cause different symptoms.
Types of Bile Duct Cancers
Cholangiocarcinoma is named for where it starts in the body. Each can cause different symptoms. Bile duct cancers include:
- Perihilar bile duct cancers: These cancers grow just outside of the liver in the hilum: where the main right and left bile ducts join as they leave the liver. Most instances of bile duct cancer occur in this area.
- Intrahepatic bile duct cancers: A small percentage of bile duct cancers grow in these tiny bile ducts inside the liver and are sometimes classified as a type of liver cancer
- Distal bile duct cancers: These cancers grow in the common bile duct near the first part of the small intestine.
Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?
Sylvester is the only NCI-designated cancer center in South Florida. The team earned this distinction through its outstanding work conducting research in its laboratories, treating patients in its clinics and hospitals, and reaching out to medically underserved communities with innovative prevention strategies.
Receive treatment from a team of experts. Your care team includes some of the top medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and researchers in the country — all working for you.
High volume experience with gallbladder and bile duct/biliary. We achieve better treatment outcomes and fewer potential complications.
Leading laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery expertise. Our advanced experience allows us to fight cancer with greater precision and offer you a faster recovery.
Minimally invasive NanoKnife® radiosurgery. We offer more options for people with inoperable or difficult-to-reach gallbladder or biliary tumors. This approach causes little pain and requires only a brief hospital stay.
Advanced radiation oncology tools. Sylvester was the first medical center in Florida, and the fourth in the country to offer resonance magnetic-guided radiation therapy. Our team is a leader in that domain. Our RapidArc® radiotherapy system delivers intensity-modulated external radiation therapy (IMRT). These tools lead to more efficient and effective treatments, shorter treatment times, pinpoint accuracy in tumor targeting and less damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Finally, our radiation oncology department also offers proton beam therapy in our state-of-the-art Dwoskin Proton Therapy Center.