Sunday, March 13, 2011

Would you like to learn more?

Cholangiocarcinoma is a very complex cancer. I know a lot of you don't know exactly what mom is going through and I thought you might want to learn more. Here is a little bit about Cholangiocarcinoma.

What is Cholangiocarcinoma?

Cholangiocarcinoma (often referred to as bile duct cancer) is a cancerous growth in one of the ducts that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine. Cholangiocarcinoma is rare. It occurs in approximately 2 out of 100,000 people, but rates of cholangiocarcinoma have been rising worldwide over the past several decades. Cancerous tumors of the bile ducts are usually slow-growing and do not spread quickly. However, many of these tumors are already advanced by the time they are found. A cholangiocarcinoma may start anywhere along the bile ducts. These tumors block off the bile ducts and do not allow bile to flow from the liver to the intestine. This is why one of the first symptoms noticed is jaundice. This cancer affects both men and women and most patients are older than 65(

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.

For more information, please go to the following links:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Back on Chemo

Well in the past few weeks, mom has been waiting for the results of her MRI to show her how well her body has been reacting to the chemotherapy. Last Thursday mom had an appointment with her Doctor to discuss the results and the next steps to defeating this cancer. Her are the results:

There is some good news and some not so good news. First of all, The cancer is not gone.(this is the not so good news) There is still too much cancer to try and remove it all through surgery. The MRI showed that the tumor in the gallbladder is about half the size as it was last fall, the cancer in the bile duct is almost undetectable, and the spots on the liver look just a bit better.

The Doctor discussed the option of radiation, but decided with my parents to just continue chemotherapy because mom has been so successful while maintaining a high quality of life.

Mom will start chemotherapy today and will continue just twice a month for the next four months. After that period they will reevaluate. So back to step one...

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. Mom still has a positive attitude and was very happy with the results of the MRI. She is ready to get back at it and defeat this cancer.

Thanks again for all your thoughts, prayers, cards, notes, gifts and many more signs of love that has encouraged mom to keep giving her all. She couldn't do it without all of you!!

I'll keep you posted on any new information...