Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month – February 2023

Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month is observed during February each year. This is a period set aside to educate and inform people about everything regarding the cancer of the bile ducts. During February, several available means are employed by relevant bodies and individuals to help people understand the risk factors of bile duct cancer, how to prevent it, and the best ways to manage it if already contracted. This devastating cancer may also have an effect that is beyond the physical body; therefore, this day has been set aside to let people know that they aren’t alone during their trying times.

History of Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month

Cancer, as is generally known, is a group of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth with the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Cholangiocarcinoma is a particular type of cancer that forms in the bile ducts, and when present in a person’s body, can cause symptoms such as weight loss, fever, yellowish skin, and abdominal pain. This type of cancer can be detected in the body through means of blood tests, endoscopy, M.R.I.s, and surgical exploration. The diagnosis is only confirmed after the tumor is examined under a microscope.

The bile ducts are thin tubes that transport a fluid called ‘bile’ from the liver to the gallbladder and to the intestine to help digest fats. This type of cancer that affects them has risk factors that include being older than the age of 60, obesity, exposure to certain chemicals, and having high alcohol consumption. Classified according to their location, they can be ‘Intrahepatic’ — cancer that develops in tiny bile ducts inside the liver — or ‘extrahepatic’ — one that starts outside the liver.

Cholangiocarcinoma is incurable at the point where it’s diagnosed, and in these cases, palliative treatment is recommended. The treatment can be either surgical, which includes removal of the bile duct, partial hepatectomy, biliary bypass, or non-surgical, which includes chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The awareness month for this deadly bile duct cancer is a very important period in the year that ultimately helps better understand the disease, reduce the chances of developing it, and limit its effect.

Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month timeline

1600 B.C.
Earliest Cancer Record

The first written record regarding cancer is discovered in an ancient Egyptian medical text known as the “Edwin Smith Papyrus.”

19th Century
New Cancer Therapies

Radiation therapy and hormone therapy are developed and deployed to combat cancer.

1913
An Organization Against Cancer

The American Cancer Society — a voluntary health organization committed to eradicating cancer — is founded and established.

1970s
Alternative Cancer Treatment

Psychotherapists introduce a specialized form of talk therapy, to help improve the attitude of cancer patients to increase their chances against the disease.

Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month FAQs

Where does cholangiocarcinoma spread first?

Almost all bile duct cancers begin in the innermost layer of the wall of the bile duct, and over time can grow through the wall toward its outside. If the tumor grows through the wall of the bile duct, it can affect the nearby organs and other internal structures.

Is there a cure for cholangiocarcinoma?

Generally, chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells and can be used in this case. However, a liver transplant is most effective to cure it, but with a risk of recurrence after the transplant.

What is the survival rate of cholangiocarcinoma?

Due to the aggressive and deadly nature of this form of cancer, the five-year survival rate for those with it is less than 25%.

How to Observe Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month

  1. Commit to improving your living habits

    This is a perfect period to make a firm decision to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid habits that could increase the risk of cancer. You will be glad you made those choices in the long run.

  2. Volunteer at a local cancer charity

    You can contribute your quota as a worker or by lending financial support to charities that help spread awareness. Your role will go a long way in advancing the cause.

  3. Directly spread the awareness

    Through word of mouth, or via social media platforms, share relevant and vital information about cholangiocarcinoma. There’s no telling how many people could benefit directly from the shared knowledge.

5 Facts About The Bile Duct That Will Surprise You

  1. It is very important for digestion

    The bile duct drains a fluid called ‘bile’ from the liver and gallbladder into the small intestine, where the bile aids in the digestion of fats in food.

  2. It can host living organisms

    Small parasitic flatworms can live in the bile ducts and cause a condition known as ‘liver rot.’

  3. It is relatively short

    Compared to the length of the intestines, the bile duct, which averages about four to five inches, is quite short.

  4. Its blockage affects other organs

    When the bile duct is blocked as a result of gallstones in the body, it may cause an enlargement of the gallbladder.

  5. It can be physically examined

    Through a technique known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, the bile duct can be directly examined for the presence of gallstones, tumors, or inflammation.

Why Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month is Important

  1. It boosts support for those affected

    Through the activities of this month, people living with cholangiocarcinoma get the help and resources they need to better manage the disease. This ultimately increases their fighting chances.

  2. We become more knowledgeable

    Not many people are aware of the risk factors and available treatment options for cholangiocarcinoma. This awareness month effectively helps bridge that knowledge gap.

  3. It connects us for the collective good

    When we join hands and minds together for a good cause, we become better as a people. The month promotes just this type of global connection.

Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2022February 1Tuesday
2023February 1Wednesday
2024February 1Thursday
2025February 1Saturday
2026February 1Sunday
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