Bile duct cancer grading and staging

Woman talking to a doctor

What are the grades of bile duct cancer?

The grade of the cancer can tell if your cancer grows quickly and is likely to spread. Low-grade cancers are usually slower growing, and high-grade cancers have a greater risk of spreading.

What are the stages of bile duct cancer?

Staging means finding out how big the cancer is and if it has spread to other parts of your body. Staging will help your doctor to plan the best treatment for you.

The staging system normally used in bile duct cancer is called TNM. This stands for:

  • Tumour (T): How big is the tumour?
  • Node (N): Is there cancer in your lymph nodes?
  • Metastasis (M): Has the cancer has spread to other parts of your body?

Your doctor often uses this information to give your cancer a number stage – from 1 to 4.

A higher number, such as stage 4, means a more serious cancer. 

Staging can be hard to understand, so ask your doctor and nurse for more information if you need it.

For more information

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