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Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 9/2/2015

Cholangiocarcinoma (CC) is a liver cancer occurring within the bile ducts. It is extremely difficult to diagnose and treat, and is also known as a silent disease because the signs and symptoms can go unnoticed until the cancer is in the advanced stage, and only 5% of patients are likely to survive past a year.

The difficulties surrounding Cholangiocarcinoma make awareness all the more important

It is during February that the AMMF (Alan Morement Memorial Fund) redoubles its efforts to raise the awareness of cholangiocarcinoma (CC) throughout the UK.

Symptoms

The exact cause of bile duct cancer is still unknown.

In most cases, there are no signs of bile duct cancer until it reaches the later stages, and whilst any of these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than Cholangiocarcinoma, the following symptoms should always be checked by your GP:

  • • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
  • • Dark yellow urine and pale stools (bowel motions)
  • • Itchy skin
  • • Loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss
  • • Abdominal pain
  • • High temperatures

Staging

Staging is a way of describing the size of a cancer and how far it has grown. It also helps the doctor plan the appropriate treatment and can be used in estimating a person’s prognosis.

  • • Stage 1A
    The cancer is contained within the bile duct

  • • Stage 1B
    The cancer has spread through the wall of the bile duct, but not into nearby lymph nodes or other structures

  • • Stage 2A
    The cancer has spread into the liver, pancreas or gall bladder or to the nearby blood vessels, but not the lymph nodes

  • • Stage 2B
    The cancer has spread into nearby lymph nodes

  • • Stage 3
    The cancer is affecting the main blood vessels that take blood to and from the liver, or it has spread into the small or large bowel, the stomach or the abdominal wall. Lymph nodes in the abdomen may also be affected

  • • Stage 4
    The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body such as the lungs. If the cancer returns after initial treatment, this is known as recurrent cancer

Charity

The Alan Morement Memorial Fund (AMMF) is the only registered charity in the UK working to raise funds for research into cholangiocarcinoma. The charity’s current objectives are to raise the awareness of cholangiocarcinoma, to support specialised research teams in their work to find the causes, methods of earlier diagnosis and treatments, and to provide information on this disease.

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