Development of a malignant tumor in the bile duct can lead to bile duct obstruction, resulting in several health complications. Bile duct cancer treatment options are described in this article. Read on to know how to lower the symptoms of the cancer, naturally.
Bile duct cancer or cholangiocarcinoma is a type of adenocarcinoma. It is a rare type of cancer. The exact cause of this cancer is not known. There exist several bile ducts which carry bile, the digestive juice produced by the liver, to the gallbladder. The liver and the gallbladder are connected to the small intestine by the bile ducts. Growth of a malignant tumor in one of the bile ducts is known as bile duct cancer. In the early stages, usually, the tumor is confined to the lining of the bile duct, where it originates.
Bile Duct Cancer
Bile duct cancer is a slow growing cancer. A tumor formed in the bile duct does not spread quickly. So, it does not exhibit distinguishing symptoms in the early stages. Most bile duct cancers are detected in their later or advanced stages.
Bile promotes the breaking down and digestion of fats. An obstruction in the bile duct can lead to insufficient bile for the digestion of fats. So the person may experience stomach pain, diarrhea or general discomfort after consumption of fats. Pale or clay colored stools and dark yellow urine will be noticed. Along with abdominal pain, the person may develop jaundice like symptoms, fever, and loss of appetite. The pain may radiate towards the back. Itching and undesired weight loss may indicate a need for a liver function test, and the results of the test will be abnormal. A CT scan, blood tests, endoscopy, ultrasound, and / or surgical exploration help diagnose the disease.
Tumor in that part of the bile duct that lies inside the liver is known as intra-hepatic bile duct cancer, and it is treated as primary liver cancer. Tumor in the bile duct which lies outside the liver is referred to as extra-hepatic bile duct cancer. Life expectancy of the patients depends upon the extent of cancer at the time of diagnosis, overall health of the person, and the treatment.
Since the cancer is often detected when it has reached the advanced stage, treatment options for bile duct cancer are limited. If possible, the tumor is removed surgically and the patient is then able to lead a normal life. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy ensure killing of the remaining cancerous cells. This reduces the risk of recurrence of the cancer. If the cancer is detected in its early stages, bile ducts containing the tumor are removed. But this is not always possible.
Since the cancer is normally detected after it has spread into the nearby structures, it becomes difficult to remove the cancer. Still, in some cases, doctors can remove the bile ducts, parts of the affected stomach, liver and duodenum (first part of the small intestine), the pancreas, gallbladder, along with the surrounding lymph nodes that are invaded by the cancerous tumors.
If the doctors cannot remove the tumors, they try to remove the blockage. Stents are placed inside the bile duct to keep it open. This helps relieve the jaundice like symptoms. A bypass of the blocked part of the bile duct can divert the flow of the bile from the liver directly towards the intestine. A bypass of the duodenum (if destroyed), can pour the bile into its next section, the jejunum.
Doctors sometimes recommend chemoradiation. Laser therapy along with light-activated chemotherapy medications helps relieve the symptoms of blockage in the bile duct. Thus, the treatment is always aimed at curbing the growth of the cancer and lowering the symptoms. If the blockage leads to an infection, the patient requires specific medicines to get rid of the infection. If the tumor and the blockage lead to liver failure, a liver transplant will be needed to be done. Considering the slow growing nature of the cancer, some natural alternatives are recommended to manage the disease.
If you want to treat bile duct cancer naturally, experts would suggest various therapies. No natural treatment can cure cancer, but it would help lower the symptoms, before and after the surgery and/or chemotherapy. The nutrition therapy helps strengthen the immune system and helps lower the side effects of chemotherapy. Herbal medicines or homeopathic medicines also help lower the symptoms of the disease.
Energy therapies along with the visualization therapy help improve the physical and psychological condition of the patient. An expert’s counseling can prevent depression, and the patient would respond positively to the treatment. Massage and hypnosis help lower the pain in the abdominal area. Cancer patients need love and moral support from friends and family members.
In the Western world, only 1 or 2 persons per 100,000 suffer from this type of cancer. Treatment options for advanced bile duct cancer and newly developed powerful medicines have resulted in increased life expectancy of the patients.