Medical Q&As

Cholangiocarcinoma - prognosis?

What is the expected life span of someone who is diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma which is inoperable and where a stent has been in place for the past 12 months? The person in question is 61 years old.

Cholangiocarcinoma means carcinoma within the system of bile ducts that channel bile from the liver to the gallbladder. The carcinoma can either occur in the bile duct system within the liver (intrahepatic tumour) or it can occur outside of the liver (extrahepatic tumour). Intrahepatic tumours are frequently inoperable and carry the worst prognosis. The stent you refer to in your question has presumably been inserted in order to prevent blockage in the bile duct system, which in turn prevents backpressure on the liver. Insertion of the stent is a palliative procedure. The overall prognosis for people with cholangiocarcinoma is not as good as for other cancers. In the case of those with completely respectable tumours the 5-year survival rate is of the order of 40%. The person you refer to in your question has done quite well in surviving for a year after the insertion of the stent. Some people succumb within weeks of the stent procedure being performed. It is difficult at this remove to say how much more time your friend might have left since he has already survived longer than most people with the same diagnosis.