Bile duct cancer

  • 3 replies
  • 20 subscribers

Hi, my mum has recently been diagnosed with bile duct cancer, she is 79 and independent lady. She has been recommended whipple resection surgery which she has turned down, because of  the complex procedure and yea she worries she will lose her independence and be burden. Obviously we are being supportive but want her to have the surgery. My mum would like to hear from others whom have had the surgery similar age. Thank you.

  • Hello Woz

    I hope you do not mind me replying as I had a different type of cancer to your Mum. Hopefully by doing so someone who has had a similar surgery will see it and offer support.

    I am sorry to hear that your Mum has had a diagnosis of bile duct cancer. I can understand her concerns that being an independent 79 year old lady she is worrying about the procedure and not wanting to lose any independence or becoming a burden. 

    Has Mum got a supportive CNS that she could talk things through with? There is also the Macmillan Support Line (number is at the bottom of this) which you could call (or she can herself) to find out a bit more about the surgery and how it will affect her. The nurses on there are lovely.

    Hopefully someone will now see your post and reply but in the meantime I will pop a link with some information that may be helpful.

    Bile duct cancer | Macmillan Cancer Support



    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm



    I'm sorry to read of your mum's diagnosis. It must have been a shock for her and the family. I haven't had the same type of cancer so I hope you don't mind me answering your post. I noticed that you'd not yet had any replies and by responding this will place your post back at the top where it may be seen by more members. Also if you search whipples in the search button it will bring up replies that way. There is also the option of finding out more information about the surgery and the legal/consent side of it by ringing the Macmillan helpline, this is the link to contact

    I have added a link at the top of this post re information about surgery.

    It may be worth asking for a family meeting with the surgeon to discuss concerns. Is there any other treatment your mum could have that isn't as complex. I realise that it must be very hard to stand by and see your mum becoming poorly when there is an option of treatment. However, if your mum is independent and has cognitive function then her health team have to respect her wishes. I hope as a family you can find a way forward. Best regards.

    A x

    What is a Community Champion?

    I am a Macmillan volunteer. 

    Macmillan Support Helpline

    0808 808 00 00 

    7 days a week between 8am -8pm

  • Hi Woz,

    I have the same cancer and also had a Whipple surgery. I was 53 at the time, however, there are patients who have had the surgery in their late 70s & early 80s when the doctors believe the patient is strong enough.

    Surgery really is the only curative option and it is a major surgery with risks attached. However, if all goes well the patient can normally expect to be home within 6-10 days. Then there is a period of months while the digestive system gets used to its new design. Most people I interact with do not regret having the surgery.

    On the other hand, my mother had ovarian cancer at 72 and a hysterectomy would have given her a great chance of recovery but she flatly refused.