What Is Ampullary Cancer?

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It's cancer of the distal common bile duct (not pancreatic) which exits into the duodenum via the sphincter of Oddi, adjacent to the ampulla of Vater.

Ampullary cancer is a rare type of cancer. It's when cancer starts in the part of the body called the ampulla of Vater. The ampulla of Vater is a small opening where the pancreatic and bile ducts (from the liver) connect to the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum). There they ducts release their secretions into the intestines.

The most common symptom of this cancer is jaundice. This is yellowing of the skin and eyes. It happens because the tumor in the ampulla of Vater blocks the bile duct. Instead of flowing into the intestines, the bile goes into the blood and causes yellowing of the skin.

Other symptoms of the cancer are:

  • Back pain
  • Belly pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive tract bleeding
  • Fever
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low red blood cell counts (anemia)
  • Pale, greasy stools
  • Stomach upset and vomiting
  • Weight loss

It is a rare cancer that forms in an area of your digestive system called the ampulla of Vater. The ampulla of Vater is located where your bile duct and pancreatic duct join and empty into your small intestine. It forms near many other parts of the digestive system, such as the liver, pancreas and small intestine. When ampullary cancer grows, it may affect these other organs.
Ampullary cancer treatment often involves extensive surgery to remove the cancer and a large margin of healthy tissue.

Ampullary cancer is a malignant tumor that arises from the Ampulla of Vater, the last centimeter of the common bile duct as it passes through the duodenum, the first section of the intestine. All pancreatic and biliary secretions enter the duodenum through the Ampulla of Vater.

Ampullary carcinoma is a rare malignant tumor originating at the ampulla of Vater, in the last centimeter of the common bile duct, where it passes through the wall of the duodenum and ampullary papilla. Patients typically present with symptoms related to biliary obstruction. A high index of suspicion is paramount so that the appropriate laboratory and imaging studies may be obtained to facilitate early diagnosis.

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