Bile duct cancer, also known as cholangiocarcinoma, is cancer that’s found anywhere in the bile ducts. There are around 1,000 new cases every year in the UK, according to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

The bile ducts are part of the digestive system – the tubes that connect the liver and gallbladder to the small bowel and carry bile, a substance that breaks down fats in food to help us digest them.

But the symptoms of bile duct cancer can be hard to spot. US-based hospice nurse Julie McFadden, who has 1.4 million followers on TikTok, shared the most common signs to look out for.

In a video on her channel she firstly outlined three three common symptoms of the disease:

  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin or white parts of your eyes
  • Changes in stool colour
  • Changes in urine colour

Cancer in the bile ducts can block the flow of bile between the liver and bowel, explains Macmillan Cancer Support.

This causes bile to flow back into the blood and body tissues and can cause jaundice.

As well as yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, jaundice may cause urine to become a dark yellow colour and stools to become pale and loose, also difficult to flush.

Julie shared other symptoms that may also occur:

  • Enlarged abdominal mass or just a bloating feeling in your abdomen
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching because your bilirubin is up
  • Nausea and vomiting or fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss

Julie advised: “If you’re experiencing these, go to the doctor. It may be nothing, but it may be something, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

She continued: “So many people don’t go to the doctor because of these things because they’re so general and generic and they think ‘what’s the doctor going to do?’.

“It’s so important to get these things checked out. This is coming from a hospice nurse.”

Bile duct cancer is considered rare, but if you’re worried about any of the symptoms outlined above, see your GP.

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