Bile Duct Cancer
Minimally invasive bile duct cancer surgery
Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is a rare but serious disease. Surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Cancer Center perform most operations for bile duct cancer laparoscopically.
- If the cancer is small and contained within the ducts, your surgeon removes the bile ducts containing cancer and joins those that are remaining to the small bowel so that bile can flow.
- If the cancer has spread to the liver, the surgeon removes the affected section of the liver, as well as the affected bile ducts.
- If the cancer has spread to surrounding areas, your surgeon will generally perform a Whipple procedure (removal of the head of the pancreas, part of the small intestine, the gallbladder, part of the stomach, and lymph nodes near the head of the pancreas). NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Cancer Center's hepatobiliary surgeons are among the most experienced performing the Whipple approach. Our team includes a surgeon who can sometimes perform the Whipple procedure robotically — resulting in smaller incisions and a faster recovery — a service that is not available anywhere else in Brooklyn.
- In people with inoperable cancer and blockages in the bile ducts, the surgeon may perform bypass surgery to enable bile to flow from the liver to another part of the digestive tract.
Liver transplantation for bile duct cancer
NewYork-Presbyterian's Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation is one of only a few centers in the country that offers liver transplantation for some people with inoperable biliary cancer. Patients can have the transplant in Manhattan and their pre- and post-transplant care in Brooklyn.
Advanced interventional endoscopic treatments
Our endoscopy specialists employ novel technologies to relieve symptoms of inoperable bile duct cancer, including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) with stent placement and radiofrequency ablation (use of high-energy radiofrequency waves) to open a narrowed bile duct. During this procedure, a physician inserts a stent into the duct to relieve the obstruction and allow drainage to proceed into the intestine, sparing the patient from having to wear an external bag on the abdomen to drain fluids. This approach improves quality of life and relieves jaundice, pain, and other symptoms.
Medical treatments and radiation therapy
People with bile duct cancer may also receive chemotherapy (such as the drugs gemcitabine and cisplatin) and/or a form of radiation therapy called brachytherapy (in which tiny catheters are threaded to the site of the bile duct tumor to deliver a high dose of concentrated radiation).
Immunotherapy for bile duct and gallbladder cancers
We are now also able to employ immunotherapy for some patients with gallbladder and bile duct cancers — treatment that boosts the power of the immune system to find and kill cancer cells. These therapies are available at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Cancer Center. You can receive intravenous treatments in our modern, comfortable infusion center, directed by medical oncologists and staffed by experienced oncology nurses who monitor your health and comfort during your infusion.