Gallbladder cancer is the cancer that originates from the malignant cells of the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ that is located in the upper abdomen under the liver. The outside of the gallbladder constitutes four layers of tissue:
Cancer of the gallbladder originates from the mucosal layer and then spreads outwards. It is often discovered coincidentally after a gallbladder surgery. Sometimes it is not diagnosed until it has progressed to a later stage.
Gallbladder cancer can spread to other body parts by:
Cancers that spread to other parts of the body are named after the organ where they originate. If you have liver cancer that originated from the gallbladder, it is called metastatic gallbladder cancer.
One of the biggest concerns doctors face with cancers is whether those have spread to other body parts beyond their original location. Your doctor will assign a number to the diagnosis to determine the extent of spread. The process is known as staging. Higher the number, the more the extent of spread throughout the body. Following are the stages of gallbladder cancer:
Females are more susceptible to developing gallbladder cancer than males. Certain ethnic groups like Asian Americans, American Indians, and Alaskan natives are also at a higher risk. Following are some more conditions which make you more susceptible to developing gallbladder cancer:
The exact cause of gallbladder cancer is not known.
Because of a lack of obvious symptoms, gallbladder cancer is difficult to diagnose. Even when the patient is symptomatic, the symptoms mimic those of other similar conditions. Additionally, the location of gallbladder makes it more challenging to locate the cancer. Following are some common symptoms of a gallbladder cancer:
Because the early-stage gallbladder cancer is usually asymptomatic and even if the symptoms exist, those mimic other conditions, gallbladder cancer is generally diagnosed late. It is usually discovered because your gallbladder needs to be removed or it is discovered late.
If your doctor thinks you might have gallbladder cancer, they will fully evaluate you and enquire about your medical history. They will then suggest some investigations including:
To treat gallbladder cancer successfully, it needs to be discovered before it has metastasised to other organs. The treatment is influenced by the stage of the cancer. Stage 1 or localised stage may be treated with:
There is no prevention for gallbladder cancer. The best you can do is to avoid the risk factors responsible for developing gallbladder cancer. You can also try maintaining a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet and performing regular exercise. However, there is no guarantee that cancer can be totally prevented by following these measures.
Even though gallbladder cancer is a rare disease, it can be quite serious. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of gallbladder cancer, you must visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible. If you are located in Indore, you can visit Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore and get an appointment with an expert doctor who will guide you to the next step. While the symptoms of other cancers might be obvious since their early stages, gallbladder cancer may not be obvious until it has already reached an advanced stage. Getting treatment as soon as possible is vital to ensuring a better outcome and preventing life-threatening complications.