locally advanced Cholangiocarcinomas

Locally Advanced Cholangiocarcinomas

Cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, is a cancer which attacks the bile ducts. It can occur in any part of the biliary tree, including intrapancreatic, hilar and extrahepatic bile ducts. It is a rare but serious form of cancer which is closely related to chronic infection and inflammation caused by hepatic flukes or parasites, and is known to affect about one in every 200,000 people.

When it comes to treating this cancer, there are two main strategies: surgery and chemotherapy. However, there is a specific subset of Cholangiocarcinoma called locally advanced Cholangiocarcinomas, or LACs, which can be more difficult to treat. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what LACs are and their treatment options.

What are Locally Advanced Cholangiocarcinomas?

Locally advanced Cholangiocarcinomas (LACs) are a later stage form of the disease, are when the cancer has progressed to a point where it has spread to the surrounding tissue and organs. The cancer can now be more difficult to treat, as the tumor itself has spread to neighboring tissue and organs, and surgery is no longer as effective. As a result, for many people, chemotherapy is their only viable treatment option.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of a locally advanced Cholangiocarcinoma can be confusing as imaging tests such as CT scans and MRI’s are often inconclusive. As a result, in order to properly diagnose the condition, a biopsy is typically necessary. Once the tumor has been properly identified, the patient can then receive treatment.

The treatment of locally advanced Cholangiocarcinomas can vary based on the size of the tumor, whether the tumor is obstructing bile flow, and other factors. However, typically chemotherapy is the preferred treatment, as it can significantly reduce the size of the tumor to make it easier to treat, or else shrink the tumor to help relieve any symptoms that the patient was experiencing.

Risks and Complications

Though chemotherapy is effective for treating locally advanced Cholangiocarcinoma, it does come with a number of risks and potential complications, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Infection
  • Anemia
  • Secondary cancers
  • Organ damage

Therefore, it is important that any patient considering chemotherapy as treatment for their Cholangiocarcinoma consults with their doctor first, to ensure that they understand the possible risks and complications. In addition, some other therapies may be more appropriate for certain patient's cases, and may be a better option for care.