What Are The Symptoms Of Bile Duct Cancer?

Bile ducts are the small tubes that carry digestive fluid (bile) produced by the liver into the intestine.

Cancer of the bile duct is rare, affecting around 8,000 people a year, so anyone who is given this diagnosis might not be familiar with the disease. There are several symptoms of bile duct cancer, so it is important to know what to look out for. Let’s take a closer look at these below.


Jaundice is the most common symptom of bile duct cancer and occurs when your liver cannot perform its normal functions. This results in a build-up of bilirubin (a by-product of red blood cell breakdown) and fluid in your body, causing extreme yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Jaundice can also appear in the form of yellow urine or dark brown to black-greyish stool and vomit, all caused by the increased bilirubin content. However, Jaundice could also be a sign of other conditions such as gallstones, liver disease, hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Itchy skin

Bile duct cancer is often difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are so similar to other conditions. For example, whilst itchy skin can occur for a variety of reasons, bile duct cancer could be one of them.

Itching of the skin is a common symptom of cholestasis, which occurs when your bile ducts become blocked and cannot drain, causing an excess of bilirubin that builds up in the skin and causes discomfort.

Other symptoms of bile duct cancer

Biliary tract cancers that originate in the bile ducts can cause a variety of symptoms. Here are some of the other telling signs to look out for:

  • Soreness in your abdomen, back or under your ribs
  • Abdominal swelling or pain when you move
  • Frequent episodes of vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Pale-coloured stools
  • Extreme weight loss

Contact us for bile duct cancer treatment

If you or a loved one has been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Remember, the symptoms of bile duct cancer can be similar to other conditions and illnesses, so get in touch and talk with a professional to get the proper diagnosis.