My dad has just received stage 4 bile duct cancer diagnosis with no treatment options

My dad has itching madness and it was initial reason for gp visit. Then had a bout of fever and sickness for a week. Weight loss and fatigue in last two months whilst waiting for results from ultra sound and ct scan , we attributed it to stress from all the waiting.  Overall he just looks too well to have received a terminal diagnosis. We want to support him in anyway possible. As there is no treatment plan, just wondered what food/diet plan people are following. Any particular foods that are advisable?  The possibility of fermented foods was suggested, anyone with experience to share?

  • Hi  and a very warm welcome to the online community which I hope you'll find is both an informative and supportive place to be.

    I'm sorry to read that your dad has received an unexpected diagnosis of terminal cancer and it must be very upsetting for the whole family.

    As I have a different type of cancer I can't comment on any particular foods that are advisable to people with bile duct cancer but noticed that your post hadn't had any replies yet. Responding to you will 'bump' it back to the top of the screen where it'll be more easily spotted.

    You might want to consider changing the subject heading to something like 'Looking for food/diet plan' so that it hopefully catches the eye of someone who may be able to share their dietary experiences with you.


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  • Hi Spanishgirl. My husband was diagnosed with bile duct cancer in 2017.  He had surgery twice to remove the tumours , stents fitted and chemotherapy which did not result in a positive outcome. When told he was terminal in early 2019 he was told to eat a healthy diet by the Oncologist. He was given six months and died twelve months later in February 2020 as the cancer spread . He also looked well , although often tired , until the final week of his life and continued to eat a varied diet . The only thing he could not tolerate was cheese or high fat food as his gall bladder had been removed in one of the previous procedures. 

    The one item I would reduce is dairy especially milk based and avoid processed foods.  My husband’s view was if he was going to die he was not going to remove all the items he liked to eat or drink from  his diet. So it really is all things in moderation and what he can tolerate as well as likes. I do not know anything about fermented foods    but for cancer sufferers in general there are many publications available with recipes depending on what the person affected can tolerate. 

    A difficult time for all of you and my thoughts are with you 

  • Hi Spanishgirl, so sorry to hear about your dad. I’m in the same position as my dad was diagnosed last month and given a short prognosis with no treatment options. Massive shock. If you ever want to chat I’m here. It’s certainly a really confusing and stressful time. I hope you’re ok.

    Surprisingly my dad has been improving week on week after being very poorly at first. The stent he had fitted seems to be working now. It wasn’t initially. We haven’t been following a specific diet plan but he’s been enjoying and asking for something light like salads most days. He has porridge for breakfast as a good base for his tablets. We’ve been avoiding processed foods but, as Southcoast lady said with her husband, he wants to eat nice treats and things he enjoys if his time is short. 

    Not sure that will be any help but sending best wishes to you and your family and my thoughts are with you.

  • Thank you for taking the time to respond to my enquiry. Very sorry for your loss. I'll pass on your comments to my Dad, we are still trying to get our heads round it and gather as much info as possible.

  • Thank you for your reply, reading about how rare and aggressive bile duct cancer is I thought it might be difficult to find other people in the same situation. It has been the shock of not only the cancer but that there is no treatment options and prognosis is for a short time. Also he seems so full of life. Just want to do anything that supports him, whether that be the best type of food or perhaps finding vitamins that might give him a boost.  Hope seemed to be ripped away from us but that initial hard lump in my chest has started to melt and my head is not so woolly. But definitely need to live in the moment and not fret so much about the time I'm going to miss so that I dont enjoy the time we've got left. Really appreciate your response, best wishes to you and your family.

  • My Dad was diagnosed with bile duct cancer last week after spending 5 days in hospital looking very yellow and jaundiced.  He's not itching but has lost his appetite, and has lost nearly a stone in 4 weeks.  We will find out on Friday what treatment options (if any) there are, but I'm hoping that they will give him a stent and that his appetite will improve.  He is also full of life and I've been walking with him every day for at least an hour and he's hoping to play golf this week.

    I have also been wondering about what foods would be best for him, thank you so much for raising this question.  We're currently just getting whatever he fancies for him to eat, and just putting it on a side plate as he can't eat much.

    Take care,


  • Hi Juliet, my parents are meeting with oncologist tomorrow and will ask for more detail re nutrition, this meeting is because when they received the diagnosis they were so shocked by the findings they were just dumbstruck, they've had a few days to digest things and are now meeting armed with more questions. This wont change any outcome but might give them informed support. I will post any info we get but I am very aware that even if diagnosed with the same rare cancer each individual has a unique experience,  but sharing the information we gather along the way. I hope a stent helps him to enjoy a good game of golf with mates. Best wishes to you and your family, enjoy the here and now and continue enjoying time with your Dad. 

    Take care too