Why is surgery the primary treatment method for most bile duct cancers?

Like other liver cancers, bile duct cancer is treated with surgery but unlike HCC (hepatocellular cancer) it more often occurs in patients without liver disease. Surgery remains the primary treatment with chemotherapy often used as additional treatment given after surgery to try to reduce the chances of it recurring. If it starts in the bile ducts outside the liver, also known as extra-hepatic bile duct cancer, it is treated slightly different and the surgery for extra-hepatic bile duct cancer is also very different.

How do I know if surgery is an option for me?

Usually, this depends on the size and location of the tumor. The liver must have the ability for blood to get into the liver and bile to get out. We must also have enough liver tissue left behind to support us; usually this is at least 30%. The problem with bile duct tumors is the bile ducts are centrally located in the liver where all the blood enters the liver and the bile leaves the liver. A tumor does not have to grow very big before it grows into something that can’t be removed.