Gallbladder Cancer Therapy

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Gallbladder cancer is a rare type of cancers in the United States, but is quite destructive as it grows at a fast pace and spreads to the nearby organs to devastate the patient's condition. The worst part comes in, when the disease is asymptomatic and is not diagnosed at an early stage.

However, the prognosis of gallbladder cancer even in the early treatment is not very satisfying. However, most of the gallbladder cancer cases are detected during treating other gallbladder related problems such as gallstones. In case of the symptomatic patients, jaundice, fever and lump or swelling in the abdomen.

Gallbladder cancer can be diagnosed after a patient shows the above mentioned symptoms. The treatment techniques may depend upon the stage of the cancer. Gallbladder cancer therapy is usually opted for the patients treated with surgical removal of gallbladder as a secondary treatment.

Also, for patient suffering with advanced stages of cancer, who cannot undergo surgery to remove the gallbladder is candidate for therapeutic treatment. There are several types of therapies that have helped in improving the prognosis and relieving the symptoms.

Therapeutic Treatment for Gallbladder Cancer:

There are several therapies to treat a patient suffering from gallbladder cancer. The treatment is however, not solely directed to the cancer but to the patient as a whole. Such complementary therapies are helpful to counterpart the conventional and standard treatments of the disease.

Primary Therapies

  • Radiations Therapy

    Radiation therapy is an effective type of standard therapeutic treatments for cancer. As the name suggests, the therapy involves a mechanism that is based on the use of radiations. High-power energy beams are used for treating a patient suffering from cancer. There are two types of radiation therapies based on the way of administering the radiations in the body. One is an internal radiation therapy that places the radioactive substances in the body to kill the cancerous growth in the organ.

    The second is external radiation therapy which requires the radiation machine placed outside and the radioactive beams are directed to the affected area and destroys the malignant cells in the gallbladder.

    A patient needs to receive internal radiation therapy for couple of hours or sometimes even for a few days. While for external radiation therapy, patient can come to the oncologist's clinic or the hospital and receive the treatment divided in multiple sittings. A single sitting may not long more than a couple of minutes but needs to be repeated for a few days or weeks.

    Though, the therapy is helpful to destroy the cancerous cells in the body, it does affect or kill the normal cells and tissues and has consequent effects such as nausea and skin tenderness.

  • Chemotherapy

    This is another standard and conservative treatment for treating cancer patients. This therapy uses anti-cancer drugs to destroy the cancer growth. Chemotherapy may be administered alone or in combination with radiation therapy.

    Chemotherapy may follow a surgical cholecystectomy performed to remove the gallbladder. The procedure for administering the chemotherapy drugs can be either oral or intravenous.

    Oncologist is the authorized person to decide over the method of chemotherapy. Many medicines are commonly used in chemotherapy and again the best suitable as per the patient is decided by the oncologist.

    Therapy may prolong to a few days or weeks and each sitting needs approx 30 minutes. However, a schedule includes a specific number of sittings and hen the schedule needs to be repeated after stipulated time duration.

    Chemotherapy also has some consequent adverse effects and it may include symptoms such as nausea, mouth sores, and gradual hair loss. Gallbladder cancer research work is continued to seek a better drug that helps chemotherapy to work well to manage the disease and its symptoms. These newer drugs target the growth of the blood vessels as the malignancy in the gallbladder needs newer blood vessels for their growth after a certain point.

    Sorafenib and Bevacizumab are the new drugs being clinically tried for arresting the growth of new blood vessels and consequently the growth of tumor. Apart from these two drugs, there are a few more being studied but the results are not yet clear.

Complementary Therapy

  • Nutrition Therapy When the disease is devastating, it is not sufficient to treat just the disease or its symptoms but the approach has to be patient based. While other standard treatments are effective and required, it is equally required to complement the treatment in the optimum manner.

    Many times, it is difficult to maintain overall health due to the mental stress and some adverse effects of conventional treatments. As per the statistics, most of the cancer patients die following malnutrition and depletion of health.

    Hence, nutrition therapy is a counterpart of conventional treatment that addresses the adverse effects such as loss of appetite and digestive disorders. The therapy aims at setting up individualized diet plan according to the nutritional requirement of the body during and after the treatment.

    Also, review is carried out to confirm the outcome of the therapy. Such therapy also helps in minimizing the adverse effects of the standard treatments and improves overall health of the patient to fight the disease.

Gallbladder cancer is considered to be one of the uncommon types of cancers and also one of the difficult to diagnose early. The difficulty in early detection is root cause for the following complications of the disease. Poor prognosis is presented for the cancer as surgical treatment option is almost impossible for this cancer as it is generally determined at later stages. Gallbladder cancer therapy is a vital treatment technique for improving the life span of the patient.

Apart from the conventional treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy an additional complementary treatment in form of nutrition therapy can be administered in the patient that helps him/her maintain overall well-being during and beyond the treatment.

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