Central Maine Healthcare works to bring the best available bile duct cancer care to our Central Maine community.
What is Bile Duct Cancer?
Your bile ducts are thin tubes that carry bile from the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas into your small intestine to help digest the fats in food. Bile duct cancer happens when cells in the bile ducts divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissue.
Because bile duct cancer occurs deep in the body, it is difficult to detect and there are no screening tests that can find it before it produces symptoms. The good news is that it is very rare, with only 8,000 people per year diagnosed with the disease.
Detection and Diagnosis
Symptoms of bile cancer can include pain in the belly, nausea and vomiting, fever, weakness and dark urine. But experiencing this symptoms does not mean you have the disease – it is quite rare.
If you’re concerned about your risk of bile duct cancer, you want a diagnosis or to know the disease has been ruled out quickly. Central Maine Healthcare’s cancer care team is focused on providing fast, accurate testing, along with compassionate care.
Bile duct cancer is usually treated with either surgery or radiation and often with a combination of the two.
With surgery, your doctor removes as much of the cancer as possible. Sometimes all of it can be removed, curing the cancer. In other cases, the cancer is too advanced but surgery can be done to remove as much as possible in order to relieve symptoms or treat complications.
The other form of treatment is radiation, which uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. This approach allows your doctor to try to eliminate cancer that could not be safely removed during surgery. If the cancer can’t be operated on but hasn’t spread to other parts of the body, radiation helps control the disease.
Central Maine Healthcare’s cancer care team includes nurses specially trained for treating cancer patients, nurse navigators who guide patients and their loved ones to a variety of supportive resources, and oncology social workers who help you balance the demands of battling cancer with the rest of your life.
Our residential facility, Arbor House, offers patients and families bedrooms, apartments, laundry facilities and a dining room all on the Central Maine Medical Center campus.