Symptoms and diagnosis of bile duct cancer



Bile duct cancer often has no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Some bile duct cancers are found by chance. The symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of your eyes and skin)
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stools (poo)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itchy skin
  • Fever (high temperature)

These symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than cancer, but it’s important to go to the GP and get any unusual changes checked. Cancer is usually easier to treat and cure if it’s found early. 

Diagnosing bile duct cancer

Your family doctor (GP) will examine you and talk to you about your symptoms and may do blood tests such as:

  • A full blood count
  • Kidney and liver function tests
  • Tumour marker tests. Tumour markers are substances that might be found in your blood, which can show you have cancer

Your GP will refer you to a specialist if they are concerned about your symptoms and think you need more tests. Read more about tests to help diagnose and/or stage bile duct cancer.

For more information

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