3 Things You Should Know About Gallbladder Cancer

May 7th 2016

Gall bladder cancer is rare, but it is important to have suspicious symptoms checked out by a qualified professional. If gall bladder cancer is caught early, a simple surgical procedure can remove the cancerous cells and effect a cure. The longer you leave it before checking with a doctor, however, the more risk you run of cancer spreading if it is the cause of the symptoms.

Symptoms

Gallbladder cancer is often symptomless in the early stages. Around 20 percent of cases are discovered during unrelated surgery to remove gallstones. This means when symptoms do occur, the cancer is likely to be advanced. Symptoms include sickness, high temperatures, weight loss and pain in the abdomen.

If the cancer blocks a bile duct, bile flows back into the blood. This makes the skin and whites of the eyes yellow. Urine also becomes a darker yellow color when this occurs. Your skin may also be very itchy. Gallstones or an infection of the gall bladder cause similar symptoms, but check with your doctor as soon as possible to be sure.

Frequency

Gall bladder cancer is one of the rarer types of cancer. It is particularly rare in people under 50. Most often, it occurs in people who are over 70 years old. It is more common in women than in men in a similar manner to other gallbladder issues.

Treatment

If the cancer is caught early, a cholecystectomy, or removal of the gallbladder, also removes the cancer. If the cancer has spread, a radical version of the operation can still be used that may remove the cancer. Otherwise, a consultation with a specialist is required, as this rare cancer is difficult to treat if it metastasizes. A range of drugs or radiation therapies can be used to halt the spread of the disease and help prolong life.

Conclusion

All cancers are worrying, but each type comes with its own specific issues, symptoms and consequences. Gallbladder cancer is not one of the most commonly researched and discussed types of cancer, but it is still important to know the basics about how it manifests and the options for treatment.

Sources

Macmillan.org.uk "Gall bladder cancer" http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertypes/Gallbladder/Gallbladdercancer.aspx

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