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There isn't a screening programme for bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma). Find out why. 

What screening is

Screening means testing people for early stages of an illness before they have any symptoms. For screening to be useful the tests:

  • must be reliable at picking up the illness
  • must be simple and quick
  • overall must do more good than harm to people taking part

No screening available

There is no screening programme for bile duct cancer in the UK at the moment because:

  • we wouldn't find many cancers because it's so rare
  • there is no suitable test to use for bile duct cancer screening
  • current tests have risks that outweigh the benefits for most people
  • the cost of screening would be high

With uncommon disease it is more cost effective to screen people who are thought to be at a higher risk. But first we must know who is at higher risk. 

Talk to your GP if you think you are at higher than average risk of bile duct cancer. If your doctor agrees that you are at a higher risk, they may be able to give you regular check ups. 

Last reviewed: 
07 Jan 2015
  • Biliary cancer: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up. 
    Eckel F, Brunner T, Jelic S (2010)
    Annals of Oncology (supplement 5): v65-v69

  • Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancers
    The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
    June 2015

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