GALL BLADDER CANCER

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Facts about Gall Bladder Cancer

About Gall Bladder CancerTo understand the meaning of a gall bladder Cancer, you need to know what the gall bladder is all about.What is a gall bladder?A gall bladder is a pear shaped organ that is found, beneath your liver on the right side of the upper abdomen. Bile, is a dark green fluid, secreted by the liver and is stored in the gall bladder. And this bile helps breaking down your food components into vital nutrients that get absorbed through the intestines. Gall bladder Cancer is uncommon and occurs in tissue lining the inner aspect of Gall bladder.Causes of Gall Bladder Cancer

We don’t know what causes most gall bladder cancers. But there are a number of factors that may increase your risk of developing it. These include:

Age

Gall bladder cancer is more common in people over the age of 70.

Gallstones and inflammation

Gall bladder cancer is more likely to occur in people who have a history of gallstones or inflammation of the gall bladder (cholecystitis). But most people who have gallstones or an inflamed gall bladder won't develop gall bladder cancer.

Polyps

These are non-cancerous (benign) tumours of the gall bladder that increase the risk of developing gall bladder cancer.

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Porcelain gall bladder

This condition causes calcium to form in the wall of the gall bladder. People with this condition have a slightly increased risk of developing gall bladder cancer.

Abnormal bile ducts

Gall bladder cancer is slightly more common in people who are born with congenital abnormalities of the bile ducts.

Smoking

Some evidence suggests that people who smoke cigarettes are more likely to develop gall bladder cancer.

Obesity

Being very overweight increases the risk of developing gall bladder cancer.

Family history

If you have a close relative with gall bladder cancer, you have a slightly higher risk of developing it. A close relative is a parent, brother or sister.


Image titleSymptoms of a Gall Bladder Cancer

The following are the common symptoms associated with gallbladder cancer

  • Pain- near the upper abdomen
  • Jaundice- Yellowing of the eyes and urine.
  • Fever accompanied with chills or shivering
  • Nausea coupled with vomiting
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Lumps inside the abdomen and
  • Bloating, the moment you have had a meal
  • Many a time, gallbladder cancer is found incidentally in the gallbladder removed for gallbladder calculus

Diagnosis of a Gall Bladder Cancer

A list of diagnostic evaluations for detecting Gall Bladder Cancer are as follows:

Physical Examination:

A thorough physical examination will enable your physician pick up lumps inside your abdomen and suspect carcinoma gallbladder.

Blood tests

Blood tests are done to detect evidence of long standing disease like anemia, low albumin levels.

Ultrasound

This scan will show the status of the gallbladder, any mass within the gallbladder, its size and relation to the liver and status of the liver.

CT Scans

Here a hollow cylinder like tube takes detailed or precise pictures of internal organs of the body and are reconstructed to know finer aspects. You need to fast for at least 3-4 hours prior to the procedure and you should inform the physician if particular allergies to iodine or asthma have so that necessary precautions are taken

Treatment Options for Gall bladder Cancer.

Management of gallbladder cancer depends on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis and physical wellbeing of the patient.

Surgery

Surgery is the only curative option when the cancer is in its very early stage. Surgery consists of removal of the gallbladder and adjacent liver tissue along with lymph nodes close to the gall bladder. Sometimes a major liver surgery might be needed along with removal of the gallbladder depending upon the stage

Surgical biliary bypass

Sometimes during surgery, when it is felt that the tumor cannot be removed completely, your surgeon will just do a bypass to relieve your jaundice.

Endoscopy and Stent placement

This is an endoscopic procedure, to drain the bile into the intestines. This is done when the cancer is beyond the scope of cure. Here a metallic expandable tube (stent) is placed into the bile duct through endoscopy.

Percutaneous or trans-hepatic biliary drainage

This is another procedure adopted by your doctor, just in case you have deep jaundice and endoscopic therapy is not possible or carries risk of infection. A tube is placed under ultrasound guidance into the bile ducts blocked by the gall bladder cancer.

Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy

These are usually given after surgery depending on the stage of the cancer at the time of surgery.

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