◊ "You have a mass in your Common Bile Duct". 'MASS'?
I'm medically astute enough to realize 'mass' is Dr. speak for an abnormal growth of cells. And, that usually means cancer. And it was! 'Bile Duct Cancer'. The Dr. said that type of cancer is fairly rare but can be quite aggressive. It was many days later I learned the long name was Cholangiocarcinoma.
About Early Detection
◊ The first, early, symptom was in the fall of 2018. My skin began to itch. I made no association with a serious medical issue. A year later I learned it to be Pruritis.
◊ The next early symptom was Jaundice; yellow skin and eyes, orange urine and light colored stool. At that time I knew there was a medical issue but made no association to pruritis or to cancer. During prep for cataract surgery the anesthesiologist noticed the jaundice and recommended a blood draw for testing. That led to doing a CBC which led to a CAP (chest abdomen pelvis) CT scan + an echo.
◊ Had I known the symptoms, the cancer could have been detected, and treated, almost a year earlier than it was.
◊ It was July, 2019 and I was in Australia when I was diagnosed. 5 days later I was at the University of Colorado Hospital Anschutz Clinic in Aurora, Co. The tests were repeated and the result was confirmed. An endoscopy three days later obtained a biopsy and placed a stent to relieve the jaundice. 3 weeks later, surgery resected all the cancer + the gallbladder and part of the left liver. Chemo therapy followed. Three week 'rounds' of 2 weeks taking twice daily oral meds then a week off - repeat. I was scheduled for 12 rounds but was lucky enough to have the Dr. limit them to only 8 rounds. Labs + scan every 3 months for a year followed. Then labs + scan every 6 months for a year. Now it's labs every 6 months + scan every year.
◊ Now: Cancer free for over 4 years!