Thursday, December 21, 2017 by Janine Acero
Ampullary cancer is a rare form of gastrointestinal cancer originating at the ampulla of Vater, also called hepatopancreatic ampulla or the hepatopancreatic duct. It is a small muscle where the bile duct and pancreatic duct connect and open into the intestine.
Because of its location, this cancer can cause obstruction of the common bile duct and prevent bile from flowing into the intestine and out of the body.
The disease is also known as cancer of the papilla of Vater, cancer of the papilla, papillary cancer, and papillary carcinoma.
The signs and symptoms of ampullary carcinoma are largely caused by the obstruction of the duct that carries bile. The most obvious symptom of ampullary cancer is intermittent or persistent jaundice – yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. The chemicals usually eliminated from the body in bile – in particular, bilirubin – accumulate in the blood and cause jaundice and skin itching. Moreover, the stool becomes light-colored and the urine dark-colored since the accumulating bilirubin (which is yellow to dark brown) is eliminated in the urine instead of the stool.
Other common signs and symptoms of this cancer include:
Indigestion and diarrhea are caused by lack of pancreatic enzymes that digest food in the intestine. On physical examination, the gall bladder is felt as a distended bag – this is called the Courvoisier sign. Back pain is one of the symptoms of advanced stage of ampullary cancer.
The cause of ampullary carcinoma is unknown, but genetic factors appear to play a role in its development. Other factors like cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus may be associated with ampullary cancer. Fortunately, it is rather rare.
Ampullary cancer adversely affects the gastrointestinal tract.
Surgical removal of the cancer is the most common treatment for ampullary carcinoma. Other treatments are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Ampullary cancer is a rare form of gastrointestinal cancer originating at the ampulla of Vater. It is a small muscle where the bile duct and pancreatic duct join and open into the intestine.
Ampullary cancer can cause obstruction of the common bile duct and prevent bile from flowing into the intestine and out of the body.
Tagged Under: Tags: Ampullary cancer