NICE guideline 7: Relieving a bile duct or duodenum blocked by pancreatic cancer
NICE guidelines for treating a blocked bile duct (which causes jaundice) or blocked duodenum (which causes sickness)
Read all the NICE guidelines for pancreatic cancer
- NICE guidelines for diagnosing and managing pancreatic cancer
- NICE guideline 1: Diagnosing pancreatic cancer
- NICE guideline 2: Specialist pancreatic multidisciplinary teams
- NICE guideline 3: Working out how far pancreatic cancer has spread
- NICE guideline 4: Emotional (psychological) support for pancreatic cancer
- NICE guideline 5: Managing pain and pancreatic cancer
- NICE guideline 6: Managing diet and pancreatic cancer
- NICE guideline 7: Relieving a bile duct or duodenum blocked by pancreatic cancer
- NICE guideline 8: Managing resectable (operable) and borderline resectable pancreatic cancer
- NICE guideline 9: Managing pancreatic cancer that can’t be removed with surgery
Blocked bile duct (biliary obstruction)
7.1 If your cancer can be removed with surgery and you have jaundice, you should be offered surgery rather than having a stent inserted first to treat the jaundice – if you are well enough and aren’t on a clinical trial that requires a stent.
7.3 If you have jaundice and can have surgery to remove the cancer but you aren’t yet fit enough for the operation, you should be offered a metal stent to treat the jaundice. This should be inserted using ERCP.
7.4 If you have suspected pancreatic cancer and are having a stent inserted to treat the jaundice which may need to be removed later on, doctors should consider using a covered metal stent, inserted using ERCP.
A covered metal stent is a tube made of wire mesh, with a covering around the outside of it. Covered metal stents are easier to remove.
7.5 If you have jaundice and your cancer can’t be removed with surgery, you should be offered a metal stent to treat the jaundice, rather than bypass surgery.
Blocked duodenum (duodenal obstruction)
7.6 If a surgeon starts surgery to remove pancreatic cancer but finds that it’s not possible to remove it, they should consider surgery to stop the cancer from growing to block the duodenum in the future.
7.7 If you have pancreatic cancer that can’t be removed with surgery and have a blocked duodenum which is causing symptoms, the blockage should be relieved if possible.
This is because the evidence suggests that a stent may be more effective in the short term, and bypass surgery may be more effective in the longer term.
Questions about stents or bypass surgery?
If you have questions about a blocked bile duct or duodenum and how these are managed, speak to your doctor or nurse.
you can also speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.
Published: August 2018
Review date: August 2023