February is Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month. Never heard of cholangiocarcinoma? You’re not alone. Also known as bile duct cancer, this devastating disease occurs in the body’s bile duct system, which carries bile from the liver to the small intestine.
Bile duct cancer is one of the deadliest cancers because symptoms can be overlooked or indicate something else, and often don’t appear until advanced stages of the disease.
Cholangiocarcinoma symptoms listed by the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation are chills, clay-colored stools, dark urine, itching, loss of appetite, nausea, pain in the upper right abdomen that may radiate to the back, weight loss, or yellowing of the skin (jaundice).
Experiencing symptoms? Discuss it with your doctor. It might be something else, or it might save your life.
As someone diagnosed at an earlier stage, I’m especially grateful for surgeon Dr. Joseph Saadey, who noticed something unusual during surgery for something else. Oncologist Dr. Shruti Trehan took it from there, and I’m very thankful for her medical knowledge, caring and compassion.
After a year of tests, surgery and chemotherapy, I "Light it green for CCA" so that you or a loved one might never have to travel the road I’ve been on. To learn more, go to cancer.org or cholangiocarcinoma.org.
– Christine Lamb, Paris Township