Facts About Gallbladder Cancer

gall-bladder-cancerThe gallbladder is a small pear shaped empty organ that is situated beneath the liver. The main function of gallbladder is that it receives and stores bile (is a yellowish-brown fluid produced by the liver) that helps in breaking and digesting fatty foods before releasing into the small intestine through tubes called ducts. Although gallbladder has some role in the functioning of the body it is not essential for human survival, removing it does not pose any health issues because bile has other ways also to reach the small intestine

Gallbladder Cancer symptoms
The location of gallbladder is very deep inside the body, it can be difficult to detect gallbladder cancer because, it does not show any symptoms in the early stages. However ,people with gallbladder cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs.
Some of the most common symptoms of gallbladder cancer are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Feeling sick
  • Itchy skin
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, darkened urine, pale coloured stools )
  • enlarged gallbladder
  • loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • loss of weight
  • a swollen tummy

Gallbladder cancer is not so common, and these symptoms may be due to some other underlying problem for instance, people with gallstones also seem to have some of these symptoms.it is for this reason, it is important to check with the doctor so the cause can be found and treated.

Risk factors for gallbladder cancer

  • Gallbladder cancer occurs mainly in older people who are above the age 70.
  • Gallstones (small stone like deposits of cholesterol and other substances) are the most common risk factor for gallbladder cancer, people with gallbladder cancer have gallstones when they are diagnosed.
  • Overweight or obese people are more often at risk for gallstones
  • People with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) disease, are often at risk for gallbladder cancer.
  • The growth cysts in the choledochal (associated with common bile duct) increases a person’s risk for gallbladder cancer.
  • Abnormalities in the functioning of series of ducts People puts the person at higher risk of gallbladder cancer
  • Chronic typhoid also puts the person at risk for gallbladder cancer
  • If gallbladder cancer runs in the family, then the person has high risk for developing this cancer
  • Formation of gallbladder polyp in the inner gallbladder wall caused by inflammation may be a risk for gallbladder cancer.

Diagnosing Gallbladder cancer

If your symptoms are signalling you might have gallbladder cancer

  • The doctor may first check your  medical history
  • The doctor will physically examine your abdomen to feel for lumps, tenderness, or accumulation of fluid.
  • The doctor will check symptoms for jaundice by observing the colour of the skin and eyes.
  • Blood tests to measure the  level of bilirubin
  • Imaging tests like  x-rays, abdominal ultrasound, endoscopic ultrasound, laparoscopic ultrasound and  CT scan are taken
  • Biopsy to see if cancer is present

 Treatment  for gallbladder cancer
The doctor will decide your treatment based on the stage of your cancer and other factors.

Treatment includes

  • Potentially curative surgery
  • Palliative surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy