TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Cholangiocarcinoma – bile duct cancer – is rare. Approximately 8,000 Americans are diagnosed with it yearly, compared to the estimated 235,760 Americans diagnosed with lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
It’s mostly seen in older people. But, last September, cholangiocarcinoma claimed the life of Josh Bloomfield, a 41-year-old musician from Troy.
Cholangiocarcinoma is highly deadly. Unlike those for lung cancer, survival rates for people with cholangiocarcinoma are grim. Even when detected early, the five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma is 30%, ACS said. If the cancer has spread outside the bile ducts the survival rate drops to between 2-8%.
Friend and fellow musician, Mark Emanatian, said when Bloomfield was diagnosed with bile duct cancer, doctors told him he wouldn’t live to see his next birthday. Bloomfield lived to prove the doctors wrong but he died less than a year later, 15 minutes after his birthday on September 15, 2020.
“We had lots of deep ‘what’s the meaning of life’ talks. He was very down before he was diagnosed with cancer,” Emanatian said. “At times he thought no one loved him and that life wasn’t going to get better. When he got sick and there was such an outpouring of love for him, I think he learned the meaning of life. It’s who you love and who loves you. He was, and still is, loved.”
Bile ducts are tubes that connect the liver to the small intestine. They allow bile to go from the liver and gallbladder into the small intestine to help digest food, according to ACS. There are three types of cholangiocarcinoma: intrahepatic bile duct cancer, perihilar or hilar bile duct cancer, and distal bile duct cancer.
Bloomfield was a talented drummer/singer, who Emanantian said was funny, generous, outrageous, and sometimes sad. The two, along with other local musicians, formed Soul Sky, a blues/rock band.
“We did dozens of benefits together. He trusted me,” said Emanatian. “He would ask where and when but never for what. He knew it would be for a good cause, he was always there for others.”
After being unable to honor Bloomfield’s memory last year, a fundraiser will be held Sunday, Nov. 21 at the Hangar on the Hudson, 675 River St. in Troy. It’s the same place a fundraiser for Bloomfield was held in November 2019 to help him with the cost of treatments and living expenses. “Jams for Josh” raised thousands of dollars.
All the money raised at “Jams for Josh 2” this weekend will go towards the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. The suggested donation is $20. In addition to Soul Sky, other local bands Super 400, Soul Serenade, the Chris Busone Band, and other “special guests” will be performing. The doors open at 3 p.m. Music will start at 4 p.m. All in attendance must provide proof of vaccination.
“I think we can honor him by giving a little of ourselves to some charity or to someone who is struggling,” said Emanatian. “I think we can honor him by putting on ‘Into the Mystic’ and singing along. I think we can honor him by remembering who we love and who loves us.”