Gallbladder Cancer Causes
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Gallbladder is a tiny pear-shaped organ to aid the digestion of fats from food items. The main function of this organ is to concentrate bile passed from the liver and store it to be released into the small intestine, where it actually carries out the metabolism of fats in the body.
Gallbladder cancer is characterized by initiation of tumor growth in the gallbladder lining. The cancer is rare and approx 7000 patients are found in the United States of America. In America, however, geographical area of South America has this disease as common cancer compared to the other geographical locations in America.
No exact gallbladder cancer causes are established by the researchers working on to develop a better treatment of gallbladder cancer, and improve the prognosis of the disease. Nevertheless, some of the risk factors understood after analyzing the cases of the research trail patients of gallbladder cancer.
The disease is common in women, and those who are elderly and above the age of 50 years are more vulnerable to get affected by this disease. In case, the disease is diagnosed in its early stage, i.e. before the tumor growth turns up to malignant growth, then removal of the gallbladder is the best treatment.
Causes and Risk Factors of Gallbladder Cancer:
Although, no cause has been found related to this disease, the risk factors are being studied to play an important role in development of the disease. There are various risk factors with a different degree of involvement to trigger the malignant growth in the lining of the gallbladder.
- Genetic Factors - Hereditary play an important role in making a person vulnerable to cancer. Cancer is known to travel in the families and so is the gallbladder cancer.
However, this factor is an uncontrollable factor and a person cannot overcome this risk factor. Other risk factors are related to environment and lifestyles. Mutation in the DNA of the cell of a person that is hereditary may trigger cancerous growth in the gallbladder at any point of time in the life.
For such cases, the age factor also does not matter and it may affect a younger person as well. However, a person with a close family member diagnosed with this cancer may undergo frequent examinations to make sure early diagnosis and better outlook of the disease.
- Gender and Age - As per the research studies, being female is also a significant risk factor of this type of cancer. Out of every 10 cases reviewed for the cause, 7 were women. Also, a person is more likely to get affected due to this cancer in growing age. Usually people in the age group of 50-70 are diagnosed with this disease.
- Gallstones - There seems to have a relation between two problems gallbladder cancer and gallstones. Gallstones are like tiny rocks or lumps formed in the gallbladder due to accumulation of cholesterol and a few other bile components.
Most of the cases of gallbladder cancer were accidently diagnosed during the diagnosis of gallbladder or gallstones inflammation. Around 80% cases diagnosed with cancer of the gallbladder were earlier diagnosed with gallstones disorder or the inflammation of the gallbladder.
People, who have a family history of gallstones or gallbladder inflammation, are also vulnerable to develop the disease.
- Exposure to Certain Chemicals and Minerals - People, who are highly exposed to chemicals such as nitrosamines and asbestos mineral fibers are at a high risk of developing cancer of the gallbladder. Also, people working in a rubber or metal industry are at a risk of gallbladder cancer.
- Smoking - As a few other types of cancers such as lung cancer, even gallbladder cancer is related to smoking as one of the risk factors. People who smoke are more likely to get affected by tumor growth in the gallbladder than a non-smoker.
- Bile Duct Abnormality - Any abnormality of bile duct or pancreas such as abnormal join of the pancreas and bile duct or outgrowth of bile duct lining may contain the triggering factor of gallbladder cancer.
- Polyps - These are the non-malignant growths on the lining of the gallbladder or on the surface and are likely to become malignant over a period of time. However, not all gallbladder polyps turn into cancer. In case, the polyps grow more than a centimeter, surgical removal of these polyps is suggested to avoid the consequent cancer. The risk factor increases in the proportion
of the size of the polyps, bigger the polyp higher the risk of cancer.
- Diet - People not consuming healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables and fruits and have more of fast foods and fatty substances in their diets may develop cancer of the gallbladder.
- Porcelain Gallbladder - This is a medical condition characterized by calcium accumulation in the gallbladder walls. People suffering from this disorder are also at an increased risk of developing gallbladder cancer.
- Obesity - Obesity is linked with various disorders and gallbladder cancer is one of them. Obesity is indirectly related with this cancer type as the underlying cause of the cancer development is the consequent hormonal change, especially in women due to obesity.
- Ethnicity - As per some of the research papers, Native Americans are at an increased risk of developing cancer of the gallbladder. Hispanics and Alaskan Natives come in the line to develop this disease on the ethnicity risk factor.
Gallbladder cancer is a rare disease and may become invasive soon compared to other cancer types. Gallbladder cancer causes are not clearly understood by the researchers as of date. However, many risk factors have been studied and documented to be connected with the disease.
People may save themselves from getting this cancer by avoiding the risk factors to a certain extent. Nevertheless, avoiding genetic risk factor is not possible for a person.