Prominent symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma include abnormal liver function tests, abdominal pain, jaundice, weight loss, and sometimes generalized itching, fever, or changes in stool or urine color. The disease is diagnosed through a combination of blood tests, imaging, endoscopy, and sometimes surgical exploration. Known risk factors for cholangiocarcinoma include primary sclerosing cholangitis (an inflammatory disease of the bile ducts), and congenital liver malformations.
Cholangiocarcinoma is considered to be an incurable and rapidly lethal disease unless all of its tumors can be fully resected (cut out surgically). There is no potentially curative treatment except surgery, but unfortunately most patients have advanced and inoperable disease at the time of diagnosis.
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