My mom was diagnosed with Bild Duct Cancer a few weeks back; She lives in Toronto and was going to Toronto General Hospital. They did the CT Scans, MRI, Liver Function Tests, Blood tests and were still not sure to the extent of the cancer. because he rbilirubin count was fine, and she did not really have jaundice, and some blood reports were also okay. MRI was suspicious though.
They Referred to a Liver Transplant surgeon in the same hospital, who then did another MRI and CT scan and after much back n forth on next steps, decided that they were going to do the surgery and take a part of the liver out. We were of course hopeful since surgery seems to be the best course for this anyways.
They did the surgery, spent 4 hours and then the doc came and told us that they decided they could not do much surgically. The doc came and told us the tumor had spread to a couple of lymph nodes, and was in the bile duct right through to the head of the pancreas. So they did not do ANYthing, just tied her up and back to square 1. Interestingly enough, the doc who performed the surgery did not show up even once after the surgery to see my mom in person. A couple of his team mates came by but they were somewhat junior in my mind, and could not provide a lot of detailed explanation. One of them has actually given a written report that indicates he felt that the surgery could have been done, but the senior lead surgeon decided not to go ahead. Anyways, the whole thing seems a little strange since they refused to do a PET Scan, did a complete 4 hour exploratory surgery with no results, and the docs in the same team have a difference of opinion on what should and could have been done.
I am trying to pursue the option of getting a second opinion at Johns Hopkins because I am not sure how latest and current are the docs in Toronto. Any one has any experience with TGH? Also, if this surgery was not done, and Johns Hopkins does recommend a surgery - could she really go through a second surgery in a few weeks? Or now that this surgical attempt has already been made, is her only option chemo/radioation? And finally, since they are not US citizens and have no medical insurance in the US - are there any programs for Financial aid for patients in their situation?