Rare And Silent Monster: 8 Warning Signs Of Gallbladder Cancer To Recognize The Disease Before It Is Too Late

Date June 20, 2018

It’s not news that the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the higher a chance of survival is. Gallbladder cancer is no exception. Unfortunately, though, this type of cancer is rarely discovered at the early stage. This is due to non-specific and rare signs it shows. In addition to that, the “hidden” nature of the organ allows the tumor to grow unnoticed for a long period of time.

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What are the possible symptoms?

The gallbladder is a small organ that stores pile before releasing it into your small intestine and is hidden beneath your liver. Gallbladder cancer means that malignant cells are found in the organ’s tissues. Like many other types of cancer, it causes almost no symptoms at its early stages, making it extremely hard to be discovered. The possible subtle symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain (typically localized in the upper right part of the belly);
  • bloating;
  • fever;
  • losing weight for no apparent reason;
  • episodes of nausea or vomiting;
  • jaundice (yellowing of your skin and whites of the eyes);
  • poor appetite;
  • lumps in the stomach.

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How to prevent gallbladder cancer and what are the risk factors?

Gallbladder cancer is pretty uncommon. Therefore, the symptoms above are likely to indicate any other health problems. However, it is quite reasonable to visit a doctor, especially if you have the following risk factors:

1. Gallstones.

This dangerous condition is one of the most common risk factors for gallbladder cancer. These pebble-like accumulations of cholesterol can cause chronic inflammation in your gallbladder. To prove the point, studies show that at least 3 out of 4 patients with gallbladder cancer had gallstones. However, considering the fact that this type of cancer is rare, most people with gallstone never face it.

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2. Porcelain gallbladder.

An abnormality in which the wall of your gallbladder gets covered with calcium deposits is called porcelain gallbladder. It can be caused by chronic inflammatory processes or gallstones. People with this condition have much higher chance of developing gallbladder cancer.

3. Being female.

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It is estimated that women are twice more likely to develop gallbladder cancer than men. Moreover, gallstones and porcelain gallbladders are also more common in women than in men.

4. Obesity.

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Obesity can cause a lot of health issues, and gallbladder cancer is one of them. As excess weight is a risk factor for developing gallstones; the latter ones can lead to gallbladder cancer.

5. Choledochal cysts.

The tube that carries bile from your gallbladder to your small intestine is called bile duct. Choledochal cysts are basically sacs filled with bile that are connected to this tube. The cells lining these sacs have a risk of having pre-cancerous areas, which increases chances of developing gallbladder cancer.

6. Gallbladder polyps.

Gallbladder polyps are growths that occur in your gallbladder (often in the inner gallbladder wall). Polyps can be formed by cholesterol deposits, caused by inflammation, or be small tumors. It is recommended to remove gallbladder in patients having polyps larger than a half inch.

7. Family history.

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Studies show that people are more likely to develop gallbladder cancer if they have a family history of this disease. The chances are pretty low, though, because the disease is rare.

8. Other conditions causing inflammation.

Scientists believe that any infection that causes inflammatory processes (especially chronic ones) in your gallbladder or bile duct can lead to cancer. These include chronic salmonellosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, cholecystitis, etc.

If you experience any of the symptoms, especially if you have at least one risk factor, it is best to visit your doctor for a consultation. Remember, early detection of cancer can save your life or the life of your beloved ones.

                                                                                    Source: Mayo Clinic, American Cancer Society, Medicine Net

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.