Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma)

Bile duct cancer (also called cholangiocarcinoma) is a cancer that occurs in the lining of the bile ducts within or outside the liver. It is the second most common primary liver cancer in the world.

There are three main types of bile duct cancer. These are:

  • Intrahepatic bile duct cancer – affects the bile ducts within the liver
  • Extrahepatic bile duct cancer – affects the bile duct outside the liver
  • Perihilar (sometimes shortened to hilar) bile duct cancer – affects the junction of the left and right hepatic ducts.

Bile duct cancer is classified as one of the above, depending on where in the biliary tree system it begins.

It’s likely you would need various tests to help diagnose bile duct cancer. Usually, you would see your GP first, who would examine you and may take blood tests.