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Biliary Tract (bile duct, gall bladder) Cancer

Bile Duct and Gallbladder Cancer

Cancer of the biliary tract (the gallbladder and bile ducts) is the second most common type of cancer to involve the liver area. The bile ducts connect the gallbladder to the liver. Tumors of the biliary system are found either inside or outside of the liver.

Legacy's team of outstanding specialists will work together to evaluate your case and develop a personalized treatment plan for you. At Legacy we understand that you have a life, not just a diagnosis

Award-winning care

Legacy ranks among the nation's top cancer programs and has received multiple quality awards including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons' Commission (ACS) on Cancer. The ACS ranks Legacy's cancer program as one of the best in the nation.


The first choice of treatment for cancers of the bile ducts and gallbladder is surgical removal.

  • Bile ducts - Tumor location determines which surgery is needed. Bile duct cancers within the liver are treated by removing a portion of the liver. Some patients may be candidates for a liver transplant. Bile duct cancers found where the bile ducts join together are treated by removing the bile ducts, gallbladder, and nearby lymph nodes. More extensive tumors may also require the removal of a lobe of the liver. Distal bile duct cancers are treated by removing the first portion of the small intestine, head of the pancreas, common bile duct, and gallbladder.
  • Gallbladder - Gallbladder cancers are treated by surgical removal of the gallbladder. When the tumor is more advanced, a portion of the adjacent liver and nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.

If a bile duct or gallbladder tumor cannot be removed surgically, a bypass procedure or stent may prevent obstruction of the gastrointestinal and biliary tracts, and relieve symptoms.

Our doctors

  • Chet Hammill, MD, is a surgeon specializing in cancers of the bile duct, gallbladder, liver and pancreas. He is also medical director of our hepatobiliary cancer program. 
  • Andrew Cox, MD and Jason Bauer, MD are interventional radiologists who specialize in non-surgical procedures, such as stents. 
  • Legacy partners with OHSU Knight Cancer Institute medical oncologists at five locations. Find a medical oncologist

Physician case review

Our multidisciplinary cancer care conferences review complex cases to provide an expert "second opinion" on diagnosis, pre-treatment evaluation, staging, treatment strategy and rehabilitation. The team includes medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, nurses, research coordinators and other cancer care staff.

You're not alone

At the Legacy Cancer Institute we offer services to support every aspect of your treatment including your physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. We offer a wide range of support services to help you and your family. If you need help just ask us, and we'll help you find the support you need.

Nurse navigators

Our personalized support services begin with our nurse navigators. They will help you throughout your treatment, from knowing what to expect to finding the right support services and helping you manage symptoms and treatment side effects.

Support services

In addition, the following support services are also available: