Bile duct cancer, or cholangiocarcinoma, is a kind of cancer that forms in the bile ducts. Bile ducts carry bile, a digestive fluid and it connects the liver to the gallbladder and the small intestine. Bile duct cancer occurs mainly in people older than 50, though it can occur at any age, says Dr. Sanjoy Mandal, the best oncologist in Kolkata.


Signs of bile duct cancer include:

  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
  • Intensely itchy skin
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Losing weight without trying
  • White-coloured stools
  • Abdominal pain on the right side, below the ribs
  • Night sweats


According to the best surgical oncologist in Kolkata, bile duct cancer occurs when cells in the bile ducts develop changes in their DNA. A cell’s DNA contains the instructions that inform a cell what to do. The changes in DNA tell the cells to multiply out of control and faster than the normal cells. Over time, the abnormal cells accumulate and form cancerous tumour. The exact reason for the changes of DNA leading to bile duct cancer is unknown.

Risk factors

Factors that can increase the risk of bile duct cancer include:

Chronic liver disease

Scarring of the liver caused by a previous chronic liver disease increases the risk of bile duct cancer.

Bile duct problems from birth

Individuals born with a choledochal cyst, which generates dilated and irregular bile ducts, have an increased chance of bile duct cancer.


Smoking is linked with an increased risk of bile duct cancer, says the oncology specialist in Kolkata.


People having type 1 or 2 diabetes can have an increased risk of bile duct cancer.

Certain inherited conditions

Some of the DNA changes passed from parents to children can cause conditions like cystic fibrosis and lynch syndrome that increase the risk of bile duct cancer.


To reduce the risk of bile duct cancer, one can:

Reduce the risk of liver disease

Chronic liver disease is linked with an increased risk of bile duct cancer. One can’t prevent all the causes of liver disease, but can avoid most of them. One should do what they can to take care of their liver.

Avoid alcohol

One should avoid or limit alcohol to lower the risk of bile duct cancer. People who drink should not consume more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.


Treatment options for bile duct cancer are:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Heating cancer cells
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Biliary drainage

If you have been diagnosed with bile duct cancer or if you feel that you are at a risk of developing it, you can consult Dr. Sanjoy Mandal, an oncology specialist in Kolkata.