Bile Duct Cancer Program

The bile duct is the tube that allows bile—a liquid produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder—to flow into the small intestine. Bile helps the small intestine break down fats, absorb nutrients, and get rid of waste material.

Inside the liver, a network of small ducts collects bile. These ducts come together to form the right and left hepatic ducts. These two ducts join outside the liver and form the common hepatic duct. The cystic duct connects the gallbladder to the common hepatic duct. Bile stored in the gallbladder travels through the cystic duct to the common bile duct and into the small intestine.

Bile duct cancer—also known as cholangiocarcinoma—occurs when malignant (cancerous) cells form in the bile ducts. Bile duct cancer can be found inside the liver (intrahepatic) or outside the liver (extrahepatic).

Bile duct cancer is rare. Therefore, if you have bile duct cancer, you want the most comprehensive care and expertise available:

  • A team of experts with experience caring for patients with bile duct cancer
  • Follow-up care and emotional support you may need for "life after cancer"
  • The latest technologies and advanced screening techniques to detect and diagnose bile duct cancer
  • Treatments and therapies tailored just for you

Choose Holden for Your Care

Patients of Holden Cancer Center benefit from a team-based approach that puts each patient at the center. At Holden, experts in specific cancer types—including a genetic counselor certified and specializing in cancer genetic counseling—is part of this team.

Holden patients also benefit from medical advances that take into account an individual’s tumor, genes, environment, and lifestyle to diagnose and treat their specific types of cancer. Known as personalized, or precision medicine, this highly specialized approach is part of Holden’s commitment to providing life-changing medical treatments and care.

What Sets Us Apart

  • Among the nation’s best. Holden Cancer Center is a National Institutes of Health-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 45 such centers nationwide.
  • Coordinated care, personal attention. Our multidisciplinary care team includes nurses who will help coordinate all aspects of your care. We also offer a range of counseling services, support groups, and more for you and your family.
  • Experts in bile duct cancer. Our fellowship-trained medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, surgical oncologists, and transplant surgeons have experience diagnosing and treating small intestine cancer. Their expertise means better care for patients like you.
  • Multidisciplinary team approach, targeted treatments. Our bile duct cancer experts work together to offer advanced treatments and therapies tailored for you. Treatment plans may include:

Comprehensive Care With You in Mind

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Iowa—and one of only 45 nationwide—to be designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Of the approximately 1500 cancer centers and programs in the United States, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are rated in the top 4 percent nationally.

To be a "comprehensive" center means our medical teams have met strict guidelines in clinical, laboratory, and population-based research.

As members of an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our doctors, nurses, and staff are among the nation’s leaders in cancer research, education, prevention, and outreach. Our experience—and our expertise—guides the cancer care we provide to patients like you.

The Power of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments not yet available to the public. These new treatments have the potential to improve your quality of life or increase your chances of survival.

Many of our patients have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials led by Holden Cancer Center doctors or in collaboration with other cancer centers nationwide or the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Support Our Mission

Our work is made possible in part by the support of donors through charitable giving. Friends of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can become partners in our efforts to control—and ultimately cure—cancer. Learn how you can help us make a difference for cancer patients.

Stories From Our Patients

Care Team