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Biliary Cancer
in Denver

What is Biliary Cancer?

Also known as bile duct cancer, biliary cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the bile duct system, which carries the digestive fluid called bile. The bile ducts connect the liver to the gallbladder and the small intestine.  This cancer occurs when the cells in the bile ducts mutate, growing out of control and forming a tumor.

Signs and symptoms of biliary cancer include:

  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).
  • Very itchy skin.
  • Fatigue.
  • White-colored stools.
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Unintended weight loss.

How is Biliary Cancer Diagnosed?

If your provider is concerned about biliary cancer, he or she may have you undergo some testing, including liver function tests, a tumor marker test, an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), imaging tests such as CT scans or MRI or a biopsy. These tests will help your doctor gather the information he or she needs to properly diagnose your condition, as well as create a unique treatment plan.

Biliary Cancer Treatment Options

The treatment option that is right for you will depend on the location and extent of your biliary cancer, as well as your overall health. Possible treatment options may consist of:


Surgical procedures to remove as much of the cancer as possible can be performed. For more advanced cancer, liver tissue, pancreas tissue or lymph nodes may also be removed.


Chemotherapy uses cancer-destroying drugs to eliminate cancer. This form of treatment may be used in different ways with biliary cancer, including after surgery to lower the risk that cancer will return, before surgery to shrink tumors, as part of a liver transplant to keep bile duct cancer controlled while waiting for a liver transplant or as a standalone treatment.

Radiation Therapy

This treatment uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be used after surgery to remove all remaining cancer, before surgery to shrink tumors or as part of the main therapy for advanced cancer that cannot be removed with surgery.

Liver Transplant

Individuals with a type of biliary cancer called hilar cholangiocarcinoma may benefit from a liver transplant.

Photodynamic Therapy

With photodynamic therapy, a chemical that is sensitive to light is injected into a vein and accumulates in cancer cells. Laser light is then directed at the cancer, killing the cells. Multiple treatments are usually needed for the best results.

My experience with South Denver GI has been outstanding. Everyone I have met on the staff is exceptionally professional with tremendous people skills. Top-notch practice that I would unequivocally recommend to anyone.

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I was very nervous about my first colonoscopy. Dr. Fairbanks put me at ease immediately and did an excellent job. I was able to watch the last few minutes of the procedure and it was awesome! She explained everything clearly. I had my procedure done at Parker Adventist and they were wonderful as well! Job well done, Dr. Fairbanks! Thanks, Robin

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I'd like to mention Dr. Ende. He saw me recently during a virtual visit for the first time. We spoke about my GERD and he made me feel very comfortable and listened to. He reassured me that my condition could improve if we made slight adjustments in medication. I feel much better knowing he thought about what he could add to my care at this stage of its progression. Now I’m hopeful!

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Your South Denver GI Team

At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about Biliary Cancer or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!

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