Gallbladder Cancer Early Signs and Symptoms

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This is one of the uncommon cancers in many parts of the world and like many other types of cancers, is named after the organ that it initiates in, i.e. the gallbladder. Gallbladder is an important part of the digestive system as it stores and releases bile, a fluid required to aid digestion.

Gallbladder, a pear-shaped organ is located underneath the liver in the right side of the abdomen. This cancer develops gradually and if at all any symptoms show up, it may be misunderstood and related to any of the digestive problems. Many of the gallbladder symptoms are similar to digestive system disorders such as constipation, bloating and gas.

Patient may select a better lifestyle to avoid the modifiable factors to cause gallbladder cancer such as environmental factors, diet factors. However, if the risk factor lies in the genes then nothing much can be done.

Although, the studies are insufficient to state the exact cause for the disease, but the characteristic of the disease states that the disease pops up when the DNA of healthy cells in the gallbladder become mutated and involve abnormal and unwarranted growth. However, these abnormal cells do not die as the normal cells do.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer:

Gallbladder is a small organ involved in the digestive system of the body and responsible for storing and releasing bile that facilitates the digestion of fats in the small intestine.

There may not be any prominent gallbladder cancer symptoms during the initial stage of the cancer, while the tumor is non-invasive and not developed into cancer. As the location of gallbladder is under the liver and above the upper abdomen, it is difficult to directly feel or see the tumor. However, even screening or examinations may not be sufficient to see the tumor growth in the beginning.

Tumor growth may be a result of gallbladder removal for treating gall stone condition. The gallbladder cancer early signs and symptoms may resemble other potential conditions that have nothing related to cancer growth. However, as the disease advances the symptoms may become apparent.

Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer:

There may be various symptoms of the disease and may be vague and related to the overall health, body weight, appetite and so on. The symptoms are however, detected late and hence, make it difficult to initiate the treatment at early stages. Some of the common gallbladder symptoms driving people to seek medical assistance are:

  • Abdominal Pain - This is the most common compliant in almost 50% of gallbladder cancer patients. The pain may be moderate to severe and in the right side of the abdomen. Usually the sharpness of the pain depends upon the level of blockage of bile duct caused due to cancer. Many people describe the pain as a dragging pain.

  • Jaundice - This symptom is a disease in itself and may appear as a result of any medical condition. . When the bile duct is blocked then the release of the bile is hindered and it flows in the reverse direction causing the skin and the eyes to appear pale or white and cause jaundice.

  • Vomiting and Nausea - A person suffering from gallbladder cancer may have a feeling of throwing up or actually throw up forcefully to empty the stomach.

  • Enlarged Gallbladder - This symptom is not possible to understand without any screening or examinations. However, during any related examinations if the gallbladder seems to have enlarged it may be alarming as the cancer causes the bile duct to block and increasing the gallbladder size.

  • Urine and stools may also become pale and yellow in color. Itchy skin may accompany these symptoms due to cancer development in the gallbladder.

  • Some of the other symptoms related to the disease are persistent fever, sudden weight loss, loss of appetite, swelling, inflammation and irritation of gallbladder.

Gallbladder cancer is a rare type of cancer but may be life-threatening if it develops to advanced stage. However, gallbladder cancer early signs and symptoms may help in detecting the disease in a primary stage and treat the condition to increase life-expectancy of the patient.

Gallbladder cancer has various risk factors associated with lifestyles and genetic factors. The risk factors are vital as they have the potential to trigger the development of the disease. Hence, avoiding the significant risk factors lowers the vulnerability to develop cancer of the gallbladder.

The accumulation of these abnormal cells form tumor in the region and obstructs its normal functionality. However, the tumor is neither invasive nor cancerous in the initial stage though it may develop to be cancerous soon. So be alert to any symptoms showing up due to the disease and start the treatment.

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