Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma): Symptoms, Signs and Causes

Patients with bile duct cancer experience various symptoms. These bile duct cancer symptoms may be similar to those of various other less serious conditions. It is important to consult the doctor if one starts experiencing any signs and symptoms of bile duct cancer. Having liver and gallbladder diseases is considered to be one of the possible bile duct cancer causes.

Who is Mainly Affected by Bile Duct Cancer?

Anyone can get bile duct cancer, irrespective of age, gender, and geographical location. However, some population groups are at a relatively higher risk of developing this cancer type compared to other groups. Bile duct cancer mainly occurs in people over the age of 60.

Patients suffering from several underlying medical conditions, such as primary sclerosing cholangitis, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, bile duct stones, liver fluke infections, and hepatitis B and C infections, also have a high risk of developing bile duct cancer. People who consume alcohol excessively and have a family history of bile duct cancer are also more likely to be diagnosed with bile duct cancer.

Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma) Symptoms and Signs

Bile duct cancer presents with multiple symptoms. It is important to see a doctor when one experiences persistent symptoms that do not go away even with medications. The following are the commonly observed bile duct cancer symptoms:

What are the Common Causes of Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)?

The exact cause of bile duct cancer is yet to be identified. However, certain factors that can increase the risk of bile duct cancer have been identified. These factors may be referred to as risk factors or possible causes. The following are the possible bile duct cancer causes:


The most common bile duct cancer symptoms include jaundice, itching, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, fever, abdominal pain, white-colored stools, and dark urine. Possible bile duct cancer causes include liver disease, chronic inflammation, obesity, gallstones, and infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Usually, bile duct cancer does not show any symptoms until it has reached advanced stages. Commonly observed symptoms of bile duct cancer include jaundice, tiredness, dark urine, white-colored stools, fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and unintended weight loss.

Consumption of a significant amount of alcohol for a considerable period may increase the risk of bile duct cancer. Liver disease patients who drink alcohol are at increased risk for bile duct cancer.

Bile duct cancer may develop at any age. However, it is relatively more common in people over 60 years of age.

Bile duct cancer can cause pain as it progresses to advanced stages. As the tumor grows, it exerts pressure on nearby tissues and nerves, and this can lead to pain in the abdominal region.

Bloating may be a bile duct cancer symptom and usually occurs in advanced stages when the tumor compresses the gastrointestinal organs. It may also occur due to abnormal fat digestion.

Yes, if left undiagnosed or untreated, bile duct cancer may spread to other organs.