Managing the Side Effects of Bile Duct Cancer Treatment

Executive Summary

Managing the side effects in treating bile duct cancer is considered a fundamental approach. Vomiting and nausea are the common side effects experienced by patients undergoing treatment for bile duct tumour. Distraction, relaxation, positive imagery, and acupuncture have been recommended to cope with side effects in bile duct tumour treatment. Cancer-related fatigue is one of the significant side-effects of bile duct tumour treatment. Appropriate medication, maintaining a good sleep pattern, consuming a healthy diet, and anemia treatment are coping strategies for the side effects of bile duct tumour. Mouth dryness, anemia, and lymphedema are common side effects found among bile duct cancer patients.

Management of Bile Duct Cancer Treatment

Treatment for bile duct cancer can be as bad as, if not worse than, the disease itself. Unfortunately, an aggressive disease like bile duct tumour necessitates a rigorous treatment regimen and can be exhausting for those affected.

Today, we’ll look at some of the most prevalent bile duct cancer treatment side effects so that if you or someone you know is dealing with bile duct tumour, you can get a better idea of which side symptoms you might experience throughout treatment.

Side Effects of Bile Duct Cancer Treatment

It is vital to understand that cancer treatments, in general, will impact patients differently. Depending on your unique treatment plan, the type of cancer you have, the severity of the disease, and your physician’s involvement in your general health, you may or may not have any of the following side effects ​1,2​.

Vomiting and Nausea

Patients with bile duct cancer often experience nausea and Vomiting due to their treatment. As your following treatment approaches, you may have nausea or the feeling of throwing up. On the other hand, Vomiting is common for two or more days after that.

Nausea and Vomiting are common Side Effects of Bile Duct Cancer Treatment, such as radiation and chemotherapy. They can also be brought on by infections associated with cancer or therapy, an electrolyte imbalance brought on by Vomiting, or gastrointestinal blockage.

Although nausea is unpleasant, it poses no serious health risk. However, Vomiting can result in dehydration, weight loss, and depression. In severe circumstances, Vomiting is so severe that some cancer patients will cease receiving therapy to stop vomiting, even if their bile duct cancer surgeon advises against it.

You can take the following steps to deal with the Side Effects of Bile Duct Cancer Treatment :

  • Distraction
  • Relaxation
  • Positive imagery
  • Acupuncture
  • Ginger, for example, is a herbal medication

Cancer-related fatigue is one of the Side Effects of Bile Duct Cancer Treatment

It leaves you physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted all of the time. The disease can cause this tiredness, but it’s more commonly linked to bile duct tumour treatment.

There is a distinction to be made between feeling fatigued and cancer-related fatigue. If you’re having cancer treatment, you should be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue is interfering with your everyday activities.

Your level of daily exercise has nothing to do with how tired you are.

  • Despite obtaining enough rest, your weariness worsens.

Talk to your bile duct cancer surgeon if you’re weary after your cancer treatment. Although it is common for cancer patients to complain of weariness for extended periods, your quality of life is still important even after treatment is over.

To deal with cancer-related fatigue, your doctor will most likely suggest the following:

  • Medications are used to treat pain, sadness, anxiety, and tension.
  • Maintaining and adhering to a rigorous sleep pattern
  • Consuming a balanced diet to achieve your daily nutritional requirements
  • Anaemia treatment is another common cancer treatment side effect that can cause fatigue.

Also Read: Bile duct Cancer Treatments.

Mouth Dryness

Dry mouth, often known as xerostomia in the medical community, is a typical cancer treatment adverse effect. This side effect happens because your cancer therapy prevents your salivary glands from producing enough saliva to keep your mouth moist.

Here are some frequent signs and symptoms of dry mouth caused by Bile Duct Cancer treatment:

  • In your mouth, you have a sticky, dry sensation.
  • Saliva that is thick and stringy and will not go away.
  • In your mouth or on your tongue, a painful or burning sensation.
  • Lips that are cracked or dry and won’t heal with Chapstick.
  • A dry, scratchy tongue makes chewing, taste, and swallowing difficult.
  • Due to a lack of saliva, it isn’t easy to speak.

If you’re experiencing dry mouth as a result of your Bile Duct Cancer therapy, explore the following options to help:

  • As a side effect, medication that reduces dry mouth.
  • Increase saliva production with saliva substitutes and mouth rinses
  • Regularly sucking on candies or chewing gum to increase saliva production
  • Maintaining proper dental care, such as brushing and flossing regularly

If you have a severely dry mouth, you should consult your bile duct, cancer surgeon. Bacteria in your mouth will grow rapidly if you don’t drink enough saliva, producing ulcers, infections, and tooth decay.


Anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells in the body is deficient. This is due to your body not producing enough blood, losing blood, or destroying red blood cells by cancer treatment. Chemotherapy patients are more likely to develop anaemia.

Red blood cells are in charge of transporting oxygen-rich haemoglobin to all parts of your body. Your body will not function correctly if it does not obtain enough oxygen through the red blood cells. For persons with low red blood cell counts, weariness is common, which can lead to a slew of other difficulties, including:

  • Muscle deterioration
  • Heartbeats that aren’t regular
  • Breathing problems or shortness of breath
  • a feeling of dizziness or fainting
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia \ Problems keeping warm
  • Bleeding issues

If your anaemia is severe enough, a blood transfusion may be required to boost your red blood cell count. Other coping mechanisms, such as drugs and nutritional supplements, can help you manage this side effect before it becomes too severe.

When chemotherapy is finished, your red blood cell levels usually rise and return to normal. However, it’s critical to keep track of your red blood cell levels with your bile duct cancer doctor to safeguard your health even after treatment.


An obstruction in the lymph system causes an accumulation of fluid in your soft tissue as a side consequence. Your lymphatic system is critical because it aids in the fight against infections of all kinds. You’ll need a robust lymphatic system if you’ve been diagnosed with bile duct cancer, especially during treatment.

Gravity plays a significant role in lymphedema; thus, it usually affects your arms and legs.

Lymphedema has been documented to develop as a long-term side effect of cancer treatment, meaning that the adverse effect persists long after the treatment has ended.

There are several things you can take to help with lymphedema while undergoing Bile Duct Cancer Treatment:

  • Using a unique massaging technique, manually discharge lymph fluid into the bloodstream.
  • Increase the flow of the accumulated fluid by exercising.
  • To prevent swelling, compress the afflicted areas.
  • When dealing with the skin on the outside, take extra precautions to avoid chapping and infection.
  • Elevate the affected areas to allow the fluid to drain and promote a healthy lymphatic flow.
  • When required, request pain medication from your bile duct tumour doctor.
  • Physical therapy can help you reduce pain and swelling by performing specialized exercises.

Finally, you may suffer a variety of other bile duct cancer therapy while receiving cancer treatment.


  1. 1.
    Oneda E, Abu Hilal M, Zaniboni A. Biliary Tract Cancer: Current Medical Treatment Strategies. Cancers. Published online May 14, 2020:1237. doi:10.3390/cancers12051237
  2. 2.
    Rossi RL, Heiss FW, Beckmann CF, Braasch JW. Management of Cancer of the Bile Duct. Surgical Clinics of North America. Published online February 1985:59-78. doi:10.1016/s0039-6109(16)43533-4