The 17th of February is an important day in our house as it is the birthday of one of our kids. This year it has an added significance as it is the very first cholangiocarcinoma day. Bile duct cancer or cholangiocarcinoma is a devastating disease that can affect all age groups. It is often difficult to diagnose and typically presents in an advanced stage. Surgery is the best opportunity for cure but less than 20% of patients are amenable to surgical resection. Chemotherapy and other treatments are largely palliative and there is a desperate need for new treatments for this disease.
It is classified as a rare cancer although in the Western World the annual incidence has significantly increased over the past decade. Bile duct cancer has now overtaken hepatocellular cancer as the biggest cause of death from primary liver cancer. There is a low public awareness of bile duct cancer (partly because of its Latin name cholangiocarcinoma which is a bit of a mouthful).
Many research groups, including ours, are making real progress in understanding and developing new treatments for bile duct cancer. Please spread the word and help raise awareness of bile duct cancer on Cholangiocarcinoma day.