Gallbladder cancer starts in the gallbladder. Your gallbladder is pear-shaped, small organ beneath your liver, on the right side of your abdomen.
The gallbladder stores a digestive fluid called bile, which is produced by your liver. The chances are excellent for a cure, if the gallbladder cancer is discovered at its early stages.
However, most gallbladder cancers are discovered at a late stage, and at that time its often too late. It is hard to diagnose gallbladder cancer, because it usually has no symptoms. In addition, the hidden nature of the gallbladder makes it easier for gallbladder cancer to grow without being discovered.
It is still unclear what causes this type of cancer. So far, it has been known that gallbladder cancer forms when healthy cells in gallbladder develop mutations in their DNA. These mutations allow your cells to grow out of control and to continue living even when other cells would die.
The cells, which accumulate, form a tumor. The tumor can grow beyond the gallbladder and also spread to other parts of your body. Often, gallbladder cancer starts in the glandular cells which line the gallbladder’s inner surface. Cancer which starts in this type of cell is called adenocarcinoma.
– There are several symptoms of gallbladder cancer, such as:
– Losing weight without trying
– Loss of appetite
– Abdominal bloating
– Abdominal pain, usually in the upper right portion of the abdomen
– Whites of the eyes and yellowing of the skin
The treatment for gallbladder cancer depends on your overall health, your preferences and the stage of cancer. The first goal of treatment is to remove the cancer. However, if that is not possible, there are other therapies which can help keep you as comfortable as possible and control the spread of the disease.
Early-stage gallbladder cancer (Surgery)
If you have an early-stage gallbladder cancer, a surgery can be a good choice. Surgery options are:
– Gallbladder cancer, which is an early stage, is removed with an operation (cholecystectomy).
– Gallbladder cancer which is extended into the liver is often treated with surgery. The gallbladder as well as portions of the liver are removed.
– Talk to your doctor about risks of additional treatment and potential benefits in order to determine what’s best for you.
Late-stage gallbladder cancer
If the gallbladder cancer has spread to other parts of the body, a surgery cannot cure it. If that’s the case, your doctor will use treatments that make you as comfortable as possible and relieve symptoms of cancer. The options are:
Radiation therapy: In order to kill cancer cells, radiation uses high-powered beams of energy, lie X-rays.
Chemotherapy: This is a drug treatment which uses chemicals in order to kill cancer cells.
Clinical trials: Clinical trials use new or experimental medications for gallbladder cancer treatment.
Advanced gallbladder cancer causes blockages in the bile ducts, which can cause further complications. Therefore, procedures in order to relieve blockages can help. For example, surgeon can put a stent in a duct to hold it open or surgically reroute bile ducts around the blockage.