The gallbladder and bile ducts | Cancer Research UK

Your guide to the gallbladder and bile ducts, including where they are, what they do and the different areas that cancer can develop.

The bile ducts are part of the digestive system. They are the tubes that connect the liver and gallbladder to the small bowel. The bile ducts carry bile. This is a fluid that helps to digest food by breaking down fat. The liver makes bile which is stored in the gallbladder.
There are two main bile ducts in the liver – the right and left hepatic ducts. They join just outside the liver to form the common hepatic duct.

Another bile duct comes from the gallbladder. This is called the cystic duct.

The hepatic duct and cystic duct join together to form the common bile duct.

The common bile duct passes behind the pancreas and joins the pancreatic duct. The combined ducts open into the small bowel, where bile is released. The release of bile is controlled by a valve.

When we eat, the gallbladder releases bile into the small bowel to help digest food.

For more information, visit our website:
https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/bile-duct-cancer for more information on bile duct cancer or:


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