Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma)
How is bile duct cancer diagnosed?
The main tests are ultrasound and MRI. In some cases, you may have a special MRI called a magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), which shows bile ducts in more detail. Another option is an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This uses a thin tube with a light and camera (endoscope) to examine the bile ducts or insert a stent. Blood tests may check for a tumour marker called CA 19-9, which is raised in some people with bile duct cancer.
For more details about these tests refer to ‘How is liver cancer diagnosed?’
This information is reviewed by
This information was last reviewed June 2020 by the following expert content reviewers: Dr David Yeo, Hepatobiliary/Transplant Surgeon, Royal Prince Alfred, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Centre and St George Hospitals, NSW; Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Michael Coulson, Consumer; Dr Sam Davis, Interventional Radiologist, Staff Specialist, Royal Brisbane and Women‘s Hospital, QLD; Prof Chris Karapetis, Network Clinical Director (Cancer Services), Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Head, Department of Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, SA; Dr Howard Liu, Radiation Oncologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Lina Sharma, Consumer; Dr Graham Starkey, Hepato-Biliary and General Surgeon, Austin Hospital, VIC; Catherine Trevaskis, Gastrointestinal Cancer Specialist Nurse, Canberra Hospital and Health Services, ACT; Dr Michael Wallace, Western Australia Liver Transplant Service, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA.