Cancer of the ampulla of Vater is called ampullary cancer or ampullary carcinoma. It arises in the farthest portion of the common bile duct passing through the ampullary papilla and wall of the duodenum. Ampullary carcinomas are rare types of gastrointestinal cancers. The disease is characterized by the blockage of the passage of the bile duct into the intestine thus building up bilirubin leading to one of the main symptoms of ampullary cancer, jaundice.
Signs and symptoms
Ampullary carcinoma is routinely treated with pancreaticoduodenal resection otherwise known as Whipple procedure. An en bloc resection of the gastric antrum and duodenum along with portions of the gallbladder, jejunum, distal bile duct; the head and neck of the pancreas; and regional lymph nodes are conducted. Ampullary cancer is a relatively slow-growing cancer. If treated early with surgical removal, it can be cured. A delay in consulting the doctor, thinking that jaundice can be treated with medicines can cause undue delay and may result in the advancement of the disease which may preclude effective treatment.
Pancreatic surgeries are extremely complex and need a multidisciplinary team to treat ampullary cancers. Experienced high volume pancreatic surgery centres have the best postoperative results after successful surgeries. I have more than 15 years of experience in the field of pancreatic surgeries.Authored by Dr. Deepak Varma, MBBS, MS (General Surgery)
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