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What is bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma)?

Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is a rare form of cancer that starts in the cells of the inner lining (epithelium) of the bile duct. The bile ducts are part of the digestive system. Bile is a yellow-green fluid that helps your body digest fats. The bile ducts are tubes that carry bile from the liver and gall bladder to the first part of the small intestine (duodenum).

Liver, Pancreas, and Gallbladder with Callout (Layout) (2)_edited.png

Cholangiocarcinoma is divided into 2 main groups based on where they start – either in the part of the bile duct outside the liver (extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma or eCCA) or in the part inside the liver (intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma or iCCA). Extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma can be further divided into perihilar/hilar cholangiocarcinoma (pCCA) and distal cholangiocarcinoma (dCCA).

Adapted from the Canadian Cancer Society:

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