Cancer that arises from the cells of the gallbladder is referred to as gallbladder cancer. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that lies beneath the liver. It helps to store bile. Gallbladder cancer is a very rare, life-threatening disease. It is usually detected in the late stage due to its small size, hidden behind the liver, and no early signs and symptoms. Gall bladder cancer occurs mostly in women than in men.
Types of Gallbladder Cancer
The common types of gallbladder cancer are:
- Adenocarcinoma: It occurs in the gland cells and is the most common type of gallbladder cancer.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: It develops in the lining of the gallbladder.
- Sarcoma: It begins in the muscle layer of the gallbladder.
Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer
The common symptoms of gallbladder cancer are:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Jaundice (yellowing of eye and skin)
- Lumps in the belly
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Itchy skin
- Dark-colored urine
- Swelling in the abdomen
Causes of Gallbladder Cancer
Many factors increase the risk of gallbladder cancer, such as:
- Increased age, usually above 80 years
- Stone in the gallbladder
- Inflammation in gallbladder
- Abnormalities in bile ducts and pancreas
- Heavy alcoholism
- Inactive lifestyle and being obese
- Exposure to certain radiations or chemicals
- A family history of gallbladder cancer
- Chronic typhoid infection
Diagnosis of Gallbladder Cancer
The doctor may recommend the following tests for the diagnosis of gallbladder cancer:
- Physical examination: The doctor will examine your abdomen to look for any lumps or masses of cells.
- Imaging tests: Detailed images of the inside of the gallbladder are produced using X-rays, magnetic fields, or sound waves. The different types of imaging tests used are ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography, positron emission tomography, etc. Imaging tests help detect gallbladder cancer, its stage, how much cancer has spread, and decide the treatment plan.
- Biopsy: The doctor obtains a sample of tissue from the suspected area of the gallbladder to examine under the microscope.
- Endoscopy: A thin, flexible tube is inserted from the mouth to the throat to examine the gallbladder for cancer.
- Blood tests: The level of certain substances increases, which indicates cancer and other diseases. For example, a level of bilirubin increases in the case of gallbladder cancer due to blockage of bile ducts.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): A gastroenterologist performs ERCP to detect gallbladder cancer and blockage in the bile ducts.
Treatment of Gallbladder Cancer
HCG Manavata Cancer Center is the best hospital for gallbladder cancer treatment in Nashik. The following are the main types of treatment methods used for gallbladder cancer are:
Surgery: The surgeon performs the surgery for early-stage gallbladder cancer. It is the first choice of treatment. The surgery aims to take out the cancerous cells as much as possible. The different types of surgery performed by an oncologist for gallbladder cancer treatment are:
- Cholecystectomy is done to remove the gallbladder completely.
- Lymphadenectomy is performed to remove the gallbladder and nearby lymph nodes.
HCG Manavata houses some of the top gallbladder cancer surgeons in Nashik, who are experienced in managing gallbladder malignancies.
Chemotherapy: It works by shrinking the tumor cells, stopping them from multiplying, and killing the gallbladder tumor. Chemotherapy for gallbladder can be given as the main treatment or to relieve the signs and symptoms. It can also be given as: A neoadjuvant surgery to shrink the gallbladder tumor before the surgery. Adjuvant therapy destroys any cancerous cells left after gallbladder surgery.
Immunotherapy: It helps to strengthen the immune system to fight the tumor. It is usually recommended for advanced-stage gallbladder cancer, cannot be removed by surgery, or has spread widely in the body. Most gallbladder cancers have specific mutations in their DNA, making them more treatable using immunotherapy.
Radiation therapy: It works by accurately and precisely guiding the high-powered beam onto a gallbladder tumor. Radiation therapy can be used as the main treatment or in combination with other treatments. It can be given internally using radioactive patches or externally using the machine. It works by killing gallbladder tumors, reducing their size by shrinking them, or relieving the signs and symptoms.
Targeted therapy: Newer drugs are being developed that specifically target the genes and proteins causing cancer in the gallbladder. It can also be used for advanced-stage gallbladder cancer that cannot be removed through surgery and has widely spread in other areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to prevent gallbladder cancer?
There are no specific ways in which gallbladder cancer can be prevented. However, you can reduce the risk by maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising daily, and avoiding or limiting the consumption of alcohol.
2. What is the survival rate for gallbladder cancer?
The survival rate for gallbladder cancer depends on many factors, such as age, stage of cancer, and the body’s response to treatment. The survival rates are excellent when this condition is diagnosed in its early stages.
3. What are the organs affected by gallbladder metastasis?
The advanced-stage gallbladder is most likely to spread to nearby areas such as lymph nodes, bile ducts, liver, small intestines, or stomach.
4. What should I do if I am diagnosed with gallbladder cancer?
You should talk to your family and friends. Many emotions come up when you are diagnosed with cancer. You should also learn more about your cancer and the treatment options available. You should also talk to your physician about any questions you have regarding gallbladder cancer.