Gallbladder Cancer: The gall bladder may develop tumors that are either benign or malignant. Gall bladder cancer is considered fairly uncommon; and mostly occurs in the elderly. Women are more liable to develop gall bladder cancer compared to men.
Invariably, cancer starts in the innermost layer of the wall of the organ. The cause is not very clear; research says, mutation of the DNA of the cells results in malignancy.
Gall bladder Cancer Symptoms
The following clinically seen gall bladder cancer symptoms:
- Jaundice is a prevalent symptom; the skin shows yellow discoloration, urine turns dark yellow, and stools become pale. The patient also complains of itching.
- Nausea and vomiting are the principle of gall bladder cancer symptoms and occur because of an obstruction of the bile duct, which impedes the flow of bile. A blockage causes the gall bladder to enlarge; given that, bile accumulates in the organ.
- Pain in the abdomen, usually, the right side occurs.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss are common gall bladder symptoms too.
- Fatigue and prostration marked.
- The patient develops excessive bloating and flatulence as well
- Occasionally, fever may be one of the gall bladder cancer symptoms.
Diagnosing Gall Bladder Cancer Symptoms
- Blood tests,
- CT scan,
- Trans-abdominal ultrasound,
- MR cholangiopancreatography,
- And liver function tests carried out for the diagnosis.
Early diagnosis of Cancer influences the course of treatment and considerably improves the prognosis.
Gallbladder Cancer Causes
The gall bladder is a small organ situated beneath the liver. It stores and concentrates the bile, the digestive fluid synthesized by the liver, to break down fats.
The gall bladder may develop tumors that could be benign or malignant. Malignancy of the gall bladder is considered quite uncommon, and chiefly, it grows in older people. Women have a predilection for the disease, as compared to men.
Gall bladder cancer causes are slightly obscure; research can not say what causes the disease precisely. Cancer starts within the innermost layer of the wall of the organ.
On the other hand, the causes for the existence of malignancy are not very clear, but, as is with all cancers, mutation of the DNA of the cells of the gall bladder results in their exceptional growth and multiplication, leading to cancer.
Doctors say that the most significant gall bladder cancer causes are the mutations in the DNA. The mutation causes the cells to grow out of control, autonomously; and to continue living when other cells would usually die.
The cells build up and form a tumor mass, that may grow beyond the gall bladder and spread to other areas of the body.
Gallbladder Cancer Prognosis
Gall bladder cancer is a malignancy of the organ located just below the liver. Largely, gall bladder cancer prognosis is determined by when the cancer is detected and the stage at which the tumor diagnosed.
The Extent of Gallbladder Cancer and Determining Gall Bladder Cancer Prognosis.
Once the diagnosis made, the doctor will establish the extent of cancer. The stage of cancer determines gall bladder cancer prognosis as well as the treatment options.
Tests used to stage gall bladder cancer are:
- Exploratory surgery
- Tests to inspect the bile ducts
Stages of Gall Bladder Cancer That Determine Gall Bladder Cancer Prognosis
- Stage I: Cancer restricted to the inner layer of the organ only.
- Stage II: Cancer has invaded the outer layer of the gall bladder and may have spread to the adjacent organs, such as the liver, intestines, stomach, or pancreas. This stage also includes less extensive tumors that may have extended to close by lymph nodes.
- Stage III: The gall bladder cancer has attacked more than one of the neighboring organs, or may have invaded the portal vein or the hepatic artery.
- Stage IV: This stage includes tumors of any size that have extended to distant areas of the body, via metastasis.
What Affects Gall Bladder Cancer Prognosis?
Certain factors have an impact on the prognosis and treatment alternatives. They are:
- The stage of the gall bladder cancer; whether the malignancy has extended beyond the organ to surrounding structures.
- Whether surgical interventions can wholly remove the tumor.
- The type of cancer, i.e., how the tumor cells look under the microscope.
- Whether cancer has just been diagnosed or is a recurrence.
Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
The treatment depends upon the stage of cancer, the health status and age of the patient, and his preferences. The principal objective of the treatment regimen is to remove the organ; also, it is important to check a spread to the neighboring areas.
Surgery for Early Stage Gall Bladder Cancer
- Cancer limited to the organ treated with cholecystectomy or removal of the gall bladder.
- Sometimes, along with the gall bladder, some parts of the liver excised as well.
- Research says that opting for chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of both after a successful surgery helps ward off a recurrence. Thus, surgeons recommend that patients go in for these.
Treatments for Late-Stage Gall Bladder Cancer
When the cancer gall has extended beyond the organ, surgery alone cannot bring about complete management. For that reason, surgeons use treatments that may assuage the symptoms of cancer effectively. Other treatment options are:
- Chemotherapy: comprising of drug treatment that destroys the malignant cells.
- Radiation therapy: it makes use of high powered beams of energy, like X-rays, to annihilate the tumor cells.
- Procedures may conduct to open up blockages of the bile duct. Advanced cases of cancer cause blocks in the bile duct, producing a host of complications. To manage such a situation, the surgeon puts a stent / a hollow metal tube in the duct to hold it open or may redirect the bile duct around the block: this procedure called a biliary bypass.