Getting diagnosed

Some people are diagnosed with bile duct cancer after they become very unwell and go to A&E. Others start by seeing their GP if they have symptoms that could be due to cancer.

Your GP will examine you and might refer you for tests or to see a specialist. If the tests show that you have cancer, you have more tests to find out its size and whether it has spread. This is called staging.

Seeing your GP when you have symptoms of bile duct cancer

Your GP will ask about your symptoms and how long you have had them. They might refer you to the hospital for tests or to see a specialist. 

Referral to a specialist for symptoms of bile duct cancer

Depending on your symptoms your GP can refer you to a specialist. There are guidelines to help them decide who needs to see a specialist for suspected bile duct cancer.

Screening for bile duct cancer

There isn't a screening programme for bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) in the UK. This is because there isn't a test that can pick up bile duct cancer at an early stage. 

Tests for bile duct cancer

There are a number of tests you might have to find out the cause of your symptoms. Once bile duct cancer is diagnosed, you usually have further tests to find out how big the tumour is and whether it has spread.

Last reviewed: 
23 Sep 2021
Next review due: 
23 Sep 2024
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