Diagnosing Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer

Support Throughout the Diagnostic Process

Our physicians, nurses and support staff are here to advise you, listen to you and calm your fears. Your physicians will explain your diagnosis and compassionately offer suggestions for treatment and care. They’re here for you.

Also available for counsel, support and guidance are nurse coordinators, oncology social workers and a pastoral team. They’ll help you navigate through the system and provide additional assistance, including:

  • Social support
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Emotional support
  • Practical advice
  • Tips on coping

Call on them. They’re here for you.

Gallbladder and bile duct cancers can be difficult to diagnose. Often you may experience no symptoms until they are in their advanced stages. It takes a highly skilled team of expert specialists working in consult to identify and assess cancers of the gallbladder and bile duct early when the chance of cure is high.

At Scott & White, our GI Cancer Team has the additional fellowship training and the vast experience necessary to detect, diagnose and evaluate your gallbladder and biliary tumors quickly and effectively. Our gastroenterologists, diagnostic radiologists, surgical oncologists and pathologists are specially trained in detecting and assessing tumors of the GI tract.

Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Diagnostic Services

Scott & White offers you excellent diagnostic services. We have invested in the most advanced diagnostic equipment available, providing precise images with excellent clarity for our diagnosticians to view.

Our staff includes:

  • Nationally recognized diagnostic radiologists, who expertly interpret the images, providing your oncologists with necessary details for treatment planning.
  • Board-certified pathologists. Our physicians rely on them to expertly classify and stage tumors.

If you have signs or symptoms that suggest you may have gallbladder or bile duct tumor, your physician may order one or more of the following tests.

Physical & Laboratory Tests

  • Physical examination and history. Your physician may begin with a thorough physical exam and medical history.
  • Blood and tumor market tests. There are a number of blood tests your physician may order to help determine treatment options for your gallbladder or bile duct cancer. Your physician may also order one or more tumor marker tests. A tumor marker is a substance that may be found in a tumor or released from a tumor into your blood or other body fluids. A high level of a tumor marker may note the presence of cancer.
  • CEA. In adults, an abnormal amount of CEA may be a sign of cancer.
  • CA 19-1. Elevated levels of CA 19-1 may indicate gallbladder cancer
  • CA 19-9. Elevated levels of CA 19-9 may indicate bile duct cancer
  • Liver Function Test. This test measures certain substances in your blood produced by your liver. Elevated levels may indicate gallbladder cancer.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests that can be helpful when gallbladder or bile duct problems are suspected include:

  • Transabdominal ultrasound. An ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to create an image of your internal organs. Your physician will pass the ultrasound transducer across your abdomen. The sound waves bounce off your gallbladder or bile duct system; a computer rearranges the waves into a picture that can reveal the presence of a mass and whether it’s solid or filled with fluid.
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). In this procedure, your physician will pass a lighted scope through your mouth and into the opening of your bile duct and into the first portion of your small intestine. This procedure can allow for sampling of a small piece of tissue (biopsy or brushings) to search for cancerous cells; it can also provide an X-ray image of the bile system after injecting contrast material.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)
  • Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiography (PTC)
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan

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