Surgery for Cholangiocarcinoma, and why it may not be possible

Surgery to remove cholangiocarcinoma is often complex and should only be undertaken in specialised liver surgery centres. If you or a family member are diagnosed with this disease then you should be referred to one of these specialist centres for an opinion. Your case will be discussed in a multi-disciplinary team meeting (MDT meeting). This meeting includes a number of specialists who will discuss your case and then recommend a number of potential treatment options.

Surgery for cholangiocarcinoma is complex and can involve removal of part of the liver, bile duct and gallbladder. If the doctors recommend surgery, then the team will assess your fitness for major surgery and this will involve you being seen by an anaesthetist, as well as possibly undergoing additional specialist tests.

The doctors looking after you may however feel that surgery to remove the tumour is not the correct option for you. This decision can be based on a number of factors, including spread of the cancer beyond the liver and bile ducts or your lack of fitness to undergo major surgery. However, your treating doctors may also feel that the tumour, even though it may be small, cannot be safely removed due to it involving the blood vessels feeding the liver or the amount of liver that would be left is too small.

If surgery is not thought to be the correct option, then there are a number of other treatment options that your doctors may discuss with you.

Back to previous page