October 13, 2020 at 10:19 pm #100516bglassModerator
Welcome to our community – I am glad you found us, and hope we can be helpful as you and your husband work with medical professionals to identify the best treatment plan.
This month marks five years from when I was going through the same situation, having a surprise cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis I did not expect and being rushed through diagnostic tests. The initial surgical consult concluded my tumor was inoperable, and I was about to be started on chemotherapy. Then one of my superstar doctors reached out to another surgeon and asked him to look at my case. This surgeon told me that he thought it was worth trying to remove my grapefruit-sized tumor surgically even though it was only borderline resectable. The operation was tough but successful. My tumor pathology however showed a lot of high risk features predicting recurrence. So I had both chemo and radiation after the surgery. I will have my five-year scan later this month — my doctor still considers my case high risk — I am immensely grateful to have gotten this far without recurrence.
My case is similar to stories from other patients, that some surgeons are more willing than others in proceeding with surgery in a tough case. Resection surgery is complex, and not all surgeons will sign on for a more difficult case. It is important to seek one or more expert surgical opinions if your cancer is confined to the liver and bile ducts. In my case, the surgeon who took on my case is an experienced liver transplant specialist.
If the cancer is situated in a way that surgery would require harming a major artery or other essential part of the GI tract, or if the cancer appears to be spreading, the surgeon may not be able to remove it. In that case, other treatments will be proposed to stabilize or shrink the cancer. The arsenal of treatments for cholangiocarcinoma is expanding every year with medical advances, thankfully. Several of our nonresectable patients have reported subsequently being able to have surgery after completing chemo.
Good luck with the meeting on Friday. It sounds like your husband’s doctors will offer a good treatment plan. Hopefully surgery is possible but if not, there are other treatment options to pursue. There is a lot of helpful information on the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation’s website for newly diagnosed patients and caregivers, and we are here to lend support as well.
Take care, regards, MaryOctober 13, 2020 at 2:01 am #100513herculesModerator
Judyr, I have had success from a resection, and let’s hope he is operable, if not other treatments are out there. Let’s pray for a resection, my best wishes, PatOctober 12, 2020 at 10:02 am #100512JudyrParticipant
My husband was recently diagnosed with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Getting care at Massachusetts General Hospital from Dr. Nipp. Meeting with surgeon on Friday to learn if it is resectable. I hope to learn about successful treatment options from this site. JudyR
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