December 20, 2018 at 8:11 pm #97924
Welcome to our community. There is abundant information on the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation website for newly-diagnosed patients and their caregivers.
There are medical research studies on whether strong cancer treatments such as surgery, chemo and radiation can be safely pursued if the patient is at an advanced age. My recollection of the findings is that, in general, treatment decisions would depend on how robust the health status is of the patient; in other words, that age alone should not be the deciding factor for whether or not to treat a cancer. I would add, as a patient, that the patient’s view on treatment should be carefully considered. It is important to be sure your father is being seen by doctors with experience with this rare cancer. Sometimes doctors who have not seen other cholangiocarcinoma patients may be unfamiliar with the various treatment options, which have evolved in recent years.
For patients not able to have surgery, the most typical first-line treatment is a combination chemo of gemcitabine with cisplatin. For some patients not able to tolerate the side effects, gemcitabine alone might be tried. There have been a few older patients on this board reporting being treated with capecitabine, another chemo. Capecitabine comes in pill form. If the cancer is confined to the liver, there are some possible localized treatment options, e.g., radiation. It is a good next step that your father will be seen by an interventional radiologist.
If a patient has blockages in his or her bile ducts, then steps are taken to address that, e.g., with stents or drains.
This is hard news to receive just before the holiday season. I hope your father is comfortable and has any symptoms under control.
Regards, MaryDecember 20, 2018 at 2:34 pm #97922XtcinlaParticipant
My name is Matthew and my 90-year-old father, Jim, was just diagnosed with stage 3 Cholangiocarcinoma on Monday. The doctors say he is not a candidate for surgery, chemo or radiation. He is seeing an interventional radiologist next week. I am trying to find out any info on this cancer and any types of treatment that might be available to him. I know he is old but I’m not ready to lose him yet. Any help would be greatly appreciated.December 20, 2018 at 10:41 am #97921DanaGParticipant
Thanks so much for the information. We’re still waiting for a decision from the insurance company on MD Anderson, but the Specialist Map was very helpful in identifying other options in case MDA doesn’t work out.
Thanks to you and the foundation for being a source of support.
DanaDecember 18, 2018 at 5:12 pm #97909
Welcome to our community. I am sorry to hear about your mother’s diagnosis.
You are right to point out the need to find a doctor experienced with cholangiocarcinoma. The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation website just posted a great new tool that can help you identify medical providers with cholangiocarcinoma experience. Here is the link:
As you can see, there are some specialists in the Fort Lauderdale area. I recall a few patients in Florida who have posted on the board have been treated at Moffitt in Tampa.
Generally once diagnosed, it is important to get a surgical opinion if the cancer is just in the liver and bile ducts, to see if it can be removed surgically. If the cancer has spread or if its location in the liver makes surgery impossible, then other treatments – usually chemo but sometimes radiation – are brought to bear.
I hope you have been able to take a look at the many resources on the Foundation website for newly diagnosed patients and their caregivers. Please keep us posted on how your mother is doing and send any questions our way.
Regards, MaryDecember 18, 2018 at 11:12 am #97908DanaGParticipant
I hope I’m posting in the right place, but if not, please feel free to redirect me.
My mother, age 70, was recently diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma. We are heartbroken and looking for the best place for her to receive care.
My parents live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but we are trying to get her to MD Anderson in Houston, however the insurance company is still reviewing the out-of-network financial agreement, which apparently is much higher than they typically pay.
It took 5+ weeks from when we first saw her oncologist in Florida to get the CC diagnosis. In the mean time, he thought she had metastatic colon cancer to the liver and has been treating her with the associated chemo regimen. He said she is “responding well”, but that it’s the second- versus first-line treatment for CC. He wants to look at one more round of labs before deciding whether to switch her to first line. I’m thinking that first-line is the way to go since I haven’t read great things about second-line. This is one of the many reasons that we’re eager to get her to a cancer center with a multidisciplinary team and CC specialists.
In case we’re not able to go to MDA, I’m wondering if anyone could provide some alternatives within Florida. Do you know which is the best place in Florida to receive care for cholangiocarcinoma? Since it’s such a rare cancer, we want to make sure we go somewhere with the best possible specialists.
Thanks so much,
DanaDecember 6, 2018 at 10:03 am #97865
Welcome to our community. I am sorry Chris is experiencing so much pain.
There are different approaches doctors can take and different meds that can be tried. Not being a doctor, I don’t have the background to suggest any specific pain treatment. But something in your story did stand out to me – that Chris is ending up in the emergency room when his pain is unbearable. I am wondering if your hospital has a palliative care practice that can be called in to your husband’s case to work on pain and quality of life issues. Most hospitals have this. It is sometimes also called a pain management practice. My concern is that emergency room doctors may not be in the best position to handle a complex, long-term pain issue.
Your husband may consider seeking help from a palliative care doctor (these folks specialize in pain and other symptom relief). This need not wait until he suffers an episode of intense pain. For our cancer, pain relief can be brought through medication, or in some cases (e.g., bone mets) with radiation, or with other types of treatments.
I hope Chris’ doctors can do a better job of getting his pain under control. It is regretfully sometimes a trial and error process – patients need to be proactive and to insist on additional help when the first attempt, or the second or third, does not work out well enough to keep pain in check.
Best wishes and prayers you and your husband find relief for his pain.
Regards, MaryDecember 6, 2018 at 5:51 am #97863AmericapexecParticipant
Good Morning All,
My name is Lucretia and my husband Chris is 63 years old. He was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma on February 14, 2018. Unfortunately, the road to his diagnosis was fraught with error. He complained of intense stomach pain for weeks, beginning the day after Christmas 2017. The ambulance came to the house at least three times. But the doctor literally told him she would not take it out and instead put a colostomy bag on him. This is the Director of the G.I. Department! He continued to get worse until I had to call the ambulance on the evening of January 23. The ER doctor said he would have died if I had waited until the morning because sepsis had set in. The gall bladder had become so diseased that infection was poisoning his system. It was removed a day later and since then he has been in the hospital over 120 days. Because he is susceptible to infection and fever, he is unable to take the chemo. So at this point, his care is really at a standstill. More recently, he has been going in and out of ER’s for pain management. He was admitted to the hospital just last Wednesday and came out this Monday. However, he is having severe back pain since Tuesday night and wants to go back to the hospital today. Does anyone have any ideas about how he can manage the pain on the outside better?August 26, 2018 at 10:48 am #97422gavinModerator
I too am sorry to hear the news of the passing of your husband. Please accept my deepest condolences. We do have Dr Giles here on the site who may be able to help you with coping right now. He can be found here on this page –
Please do not worry about posting on the right or wrong page. We also have a board here that may also be of help to you right now as well –
My thoughts are with you and your family right now.
GavinAugust 25, 2018 at 9:24 pm #97416
I am so sorry to hear this sad news about your beloved husband. Please accept my condolences.
I sent you a private message concerning your question.
Take care, regards, MaryAugust 25, 2018 at 1:20 pm #97414ShortcanuckParticipant
My sweet, loving, funny husband died 3 weeks ago, 9 months to the day after diagnosis. Is there someone here I could talk to? I feel like I can’t breathe sometimes. Not sure I’m posting in correct sectionApril 16, 2018 at 12:41 pm #96846
So happy you found our community, but I am sorry to hear that your father was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma. I hope you and your family find the resources on the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation website for newly diagnosed patients helpful.
As you may already be aware, job one with this diagnosis is lining up medical providers who are experienced with this rare cancer. This usually means working with doctors at a major cancer facility.
Treatment options have multiplied for this cancer, so the outlook is more hopeful than in the past. I know your care and support will be invaluable for your father, especially with your medical background. As many of us here have learned, the medical maze can be challenging with a rare illness.
Please let us know how your father is doing, and if you have concerns or questions, the community on this board is here to help.
Take care, regards, MaryApril 16, 2018 at 12:22 pm #96845SarwithketchupParticipant
Hi everyone. My name is Arlyn. I just found out my 63 year old father was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma this past Thursday. I feel like my world has been turned upside down. I don’t know the details of it yet–just know he had a biopsy to confirm it last week. I am a nurse practitioner that works in primary care in Southern California and am planning to move back home to Northern California. Reading the posts and seeing all the support on this site is giving me hope and helping me to stay strong. I am hoping to relay some of that hope and strength to him.January 14, 2018 at 12:17 pm #96460
Welcome to the new format of the discussion board. Since it is new, we are still getting used to it – if you have suggestions or questions, there is now a place on the right-hand side that tells you how to contact the administrator (Rick). Any suggestions are most appreciated.
To add a posting to an existing chain, look for a button at the top right-hand side that says “reply.” Or scroll down to the very bottom of the thread and you will see the box for the reply. Your new entry will then appear at the top of the chain and will also be flagged on the beta page that lists the newest topics and postings.
I looked at your earlier messages and some other users did use that same thread to discuss and update their own stories. The moderators very occasionally move a posting if it fits better under a different heading – e.g., a posting about chemo appears under the radiation topic. I will look into whether we can separate out your reports on your current treatment into their own topic so that info is easier for others to find and follow.
Looking forward to hearing your update! Regards, MaryJanuary 13, 2018 at 9:26 pm #96456katrinaParticipant
I am now signed into the New Discussion Board. I wanted to give a positive update to my entry in What’s Working Now, but I didn’t see a Posting ability. Please confirm what to do. I do hope that the entries now come with the most recent posts first and that posts are appropriate to the topic of the Discussion Board subject (or moved). Hope to see you all at the conference!September 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm #95724CaitParticipant
Huzzah! Super exciting. 🙂
Congrats to Rick and team for an awesome end result, and thank you for your efforts in getting this new site up and running. Everything looks great!
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