Cancer » Gallbladder Cancer
Gallbladder cancer is a typical type of cancer originating in the gallbladder. The chances of occurrence of the disease mainly depend on the geographical location of the person. It is common in South America but very uncommon in North America. In Europe, it is more common in the eastern and central parts while it occurs rarely in the rest of the continent. Also, people residing in India, Chile and Japan are more prone to the disease than those residing in the western countries. The cancer is more common in women as compared to men.
Nature of the disease
Gallbladder cancer develops primarily in the tissues of gallbladder. Gallbladder is located near the liver and its main function is to produce bile. Bile is a fluid that digests fats. Gallbladder generally releases the bile after the food is processed by stomach and intestines. Bile is released through a tube known as common bile duct. It is the tube connecting the liver, gallbladder and small intestine. Gallbladder consists of three-layered wall of tissues. The outermost layer is known as serosal while the innermost is called as mucosal. The middle layer is a muscle layer known as muscularis. Innermost layer or the mucosal is the primary target of the cancerous cells and they spread to other layers as the intensity of the disease increase.
The malignant cells originate in the mucosal and damage the healthy tissues badly. They create a hindrance in normal working of the tissues and disturb the overall cell-growth mechanism. Improper functioning of tissues cause severe problems in supply of blood and oxygen to the adjacent as well as other areas of the body and hinder the overall growth mechanism. Also, insufficient supply of blood and oxygen may lead to many other abnormalities and disorders. This will make you more prone to the cancer.
The tumors formed may be benign or cancerous. Benign tumors are normally non-hazardous and do not damage tissues or cells. These tumors do not spread and are generally restricted to a particular area. They can be treated completely and the chances of their recurrence are very rare. On the other side, malignant tumors are highly dangerous to our body as their main target is to kill and replace the healthy cells and tissues with the cancerous ones. They form a lump or tumor of unnecessary cells and tissues and the tumor spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymph nodes. These tumors may recur even if treated previously and can be fatal.
Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of gallbladder cancer and starts in the glandular lining of the gallbladder. Adenocarcinoma can be of three main types as mucinous adenocarcinoma, non-papillary adenocarcinoma and papillary adenocarcinoma.
Fighting the cancer of gallbladder can be easy if you take good care of your health and habits. The cancerous cells mainly originate in a person with low resistance power. Hence, a strong immunity system is necessary to prevent the cells from invading your body tissues. Avoid unhygienic and oily food. You must include fresh fruits, vegetables and salads in your daily diet. Regular exercise is necessary to keep body weight under control and avoid obesity. Obesity is one of the leading causes of the development of gallstones in the gallbladder. Presence of gallstones in the bladder is alarming because this is the most common and primary cause of the cancer of gallbladder.
Smoking, excess alcohol consumption and tobacco chewing must be avoided to minimize the risks of gallbladder cancer. People with a family history of the disease must undergo a thorough health check-up regularly as they are at a slightly higher risk of being infected by the disease. Presence of polyps or the non-cancerous tumors can increase the risk of developing the cancerous tumors. Gallstone or inflammation in the gallbladder is another important symptom of the disease. Abnormality in the bile ducts is another disadvantage as it makes the person highly prone to the cancer.
Frequent or consistent pains in the upper side of the abdomen must be taken seriously. Unusual weight loss and considerable loss of appetite are other important indications of the development of unwanted cells in the gallbladder. Jaundice is another important symptom of the disease. Formation of lumps in the abdominal areas, vomiting, nausea and frequent fever are indications of abnormalities in the body.
It is difficult to detect the presence of cancerous cells in the gallbladder in the early stages, as most of the symptoms are common with other health issues. Hence, a thorough internal examination of your body is necessary to diagnose the nature and causes of the abnormality. Thorough medical examination also helps in deciding whether the tumors or the lumps formed are cancerous or benign.
Gallbladder cancer can be fatal if the symptoms are ignored. Regular thorough medical examination helps a person to detect and treat any abnormalities in time and prevents further development of the disease. Various reliable techniques like computed tomography scan (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan), biopsy, X-rays, transabdominal ultrasound and endoscopic ultrasound are very useful in examining the body internally. Removal of gallbladder by surgery is the most common technique to get rid of the cancerous cells. This surgery is also known as cholecystectomy. Chemical therapy and radiation therapy are some other important types of treatment and can be undertaken simultaneously with surgery. Partial removal of lymph nodes and liver is also done in some cases depending upon the nature and intensity of the disease. The side effects of these treatments are high and the victim must consider his body's sustainability before opting for such treatments.