- Gallbladder Cancer
The gallbladder may develop tumors that are benign or malignant. Gallbladder malignancy is considered relatively uncommon and largely develops in the elderly. Women are more prone to Gallbladder cancer, compared to men.
The cancer originates in the innermost layer of the wall of this organ. The cause for Gallbladder cancer is not clear; and mutation of the DNA of the gallbladder cells results in an abnormal growth leading to malignancy.
Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer
The following are the commonest manifesting symptoms of Gallbladder cancer:
- Jaundice is the commonest symptom, characterized by yellowing of the skin and white of the eyes. Urine becomes dark-colored and stools pale-colored. The patient complains of itching.
- Pain occurs in the upper right portion of the abdomen.
- Nausea and vomiting are also very common symptoms of Gallbladder cancer, and occur due to a blockage of the bile duct, impeding bile flow. Blockages may cause Gallbladder enlargement, since, bile collects within the organ.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss are common too
- Bloating and flatulence develop
- Occasionally, fever may be one of the symptoms of Gallbladder cancer.
- Diagnosing the Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer
- Early diagnosis of is comparatively rare. Blood tests, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, trans-abdominal ultrasound, MR cholangio-pancreatography, and liver function tests are commonly done for gallbladder cancer diagnosis.
- Gallbladder Cancer Treatment
Treatment for Gallbladder cancer depends largely up on the stage at which the cancer is identified. Early diagnosis of the cancer increases the prognosis and the survival rate considerably. Also, the patient's health and age are important determining factors.
By and large, surgery is done to manage a case of Gallbladder cancer, along with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
- Cholecystectomy or the removal of the Gallbladder is the commonly carried out procedure for gallbladder cancer.
- Along with the gallbladder, some portions of the liver and a few lymph nodes also need to be excised, to ensure that no malignant tissue is left behind.
- In the early stages of the malignancy, cholecystectomy helps mange the condition effectively.
- Occasionally, radiation and chemotherapy may be administered, especially in advanced stages. They help wipe out and destroy the cancer cells successfully.
Reprinted by permission