I am a 9 month survivor of Stage T2, NO, MX Intra-hepatic Cholangiocarcinoma (IHCC) as they found it just before it spread too far.  I have Lynch syndrome (which is hereditary) which I found out before I got my cancer.  Bile duct cancer is one of the cancers listed if you have Lynch Syndrome.  Some of the more common cancers linked to Lynch is colon and all the female cancers like ovarian, utteran. My family noticed a "family mortality rate" on my mothers side dying of "Lynch syndrome" cancers.  I also had a brother who died at 44 of colon cancer.  I went to Dana Farber for gene counciling which includes a blood test. It is this test that determined I had Lynch Syndrome. I immediately started getting colonoscopies and had a hysterectomy to be preventative...however a year later I was diagnosed with IHCC.   I would recommend an annual Catscan if you have a family history and/or diagnosed with Lynch syndrome. Blood tests do not detect IHCC.  It was by accident that they found my cancer, I had no symptoms, I went in for a UTI and my primary doctor ordered a Catscan on my kidneys and of course the scan caught my liver and that is when they saw the tumor. How scarey is that! So, if it will save your life, it is worth getting an annual Catscan especially if you have family history of these types of cancers.

I did not have chemo or radiation therapy after my surgery.  I am not sure if that is good or bad at this point.  I missed the 6-8 week window of radiation therapy due to a bad case of ascites that developed after my surgery.  It is now controlled with Lasix and hopefully I will be off the Lasix soon, but if this is the only problem, I can live with it.  I have been back to work for 4 months and I feel pretty good. 

I have been reading so many stories on this site, I think it is so helpful.  I didn't know about this cancer until 9 months ago.  And when they told me I had to look it up and I still didn't understand it.  When I returned to work, I changed my charity contributions to go towards this Cholangiocarcinoma foundation.  More studies are desparately needed to understand how to fight this cancer better.

I highly recommend Massachusetts General Hospital and the team Dr. Ken Tanabe (Surgeon), Dr. Zhu (Oncologist) and Dr. Hong (Radiation Oncologists).  Dr. Tanabe saved my life.  I feel so fortunate to be so close to major hospitals that deal with these rare cancers.

Thank you everyone for this site, I think its great.  Tina

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(18 replies, posted in Introductions!)

Hi TripleBlessed,  I have the same team of doctors as you at MGH!   I was diagnosed with Stage T2, N0, MX Intra-hepatic cholangiocarcinoma in March 2012, had my liver resected by Dr. Tanabe on April 30th.  The tumor was 8.5 cm.  I also had to have a vena cava bypass as the tumor had attached to it...so my surgery was 12 hours.  Anyways, I feel a certain closeness hearing your story and wanted to reach out.
I did not have radiation as I missed the ideal 6-8 week post surgery window to have radiation.  I developed ascites and that was a bigger threat at that point and it was too dangerous to have radiation.  We discussed a chemo treatment, but since I didn't show any signs of the cancer, they recommended not to do it.  I am now 9 months out from my surgery and my most recent scans still show no cancer.  I get re-checked in March.  I am back to full time work and feeling pretty much back to normal.
I read the article about your cancer and we have very similar case from a cancer perspective, but different treatments.  I hope you are doing well and thank you for sharing.  I find this all very helpful.