Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon Tom Shives, M.D. and cohost Tracy McCray educate and enlighten audiences every week on the latest news as well as information about exercise, nutrition, prevention and your health. Tune in weekly as hosts and experts from Mayo Clinic and the Mayo Clinic Health System bring you health updates in an easy-to-understand, friendly approach.

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Thu, May 30 1:06pm

Bile Duct Cancer

By Margaret Shepard, Communications Specialist, @Margaret_Marie


The bile ducts are a series of thin tubes that connect your liver to your gallbladder, your small intestine. Their major job is to move a fluid called bile from the liver and gallbladder into the small intestine where it helps digest fats in the food. Cancer of the bile duct, called cholangiocarcinoma, is an uncommon form of cancer that occurs mostly in people older than age of 50, but it can occur at any age.

Because the bile ducts are deep inside the body, small tumors can’t be seen or felt during routine physical exams, and there are no blood tests or other tests that can reliably screen for bile duct cancers. Because of this, most bile duct cancers are found only after the cancer has grown enough to cause signs or symptoms.

Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Dr. Bret Petersen discusses bile duct cancer on this segment of Mayo Clinic Radio.


I did not have bile duct cancer, but with PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis) I was at high risk for developing it. When my local transplant team suspected that I might have cholangiocarcinoma, they were unable to get thru my bileducts because of the obstruction. They sent me to Mayo for testing, which showed that I did not have it. I was placed back on the transplant list and remained at Mayo for my transplant.

I am grateful that my original doctors knew to send me to Mayo.
Thank you for this presentation.

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