Gallbladder cancer is one of the rare malignant cancers of the biliary tract. It is an aggressive kind of cancer with very short average survival rate from the time it gets diagnosed. The reason for this low survival rate is because it generally gets detected quite late. Symptoms often don’t show up until it reaches an advanced stage. Listed below are a few more surprising facts about gallbladder cancer.
- Gallbladder cancer, being a rare disease, is the result of formation of malignant cells in the tissue of gallbladder. Being a female or a native American can increase the risk factor of developing this cancer.
- Gallbladder cancer is difficult to detect and diagnose. The indications of the disease are quite vague and can be confused with symptoms of other diseases. The common symptoms are jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), vomiting, fever, nausea, pain, bloating and lumps in abdomen.
- Some of the ways to detect gallbladder cancer are-
- Physical Test– An initial whole-body check is done to ensure there aren’t any lumps or any other unusual and noticeable abnormality in the body. Then the patient’s medical history and habits are checked in order to find out the illness.
- Ultrasound– This is a process where high energy sound waves are emitted to the body and they get reflected by the organs using which a picture is formed called sonogram. Ultrasound is used to find out any abnormality with gallbladder.
- Liver Function Test– A lab test of blood is done in order to find if there’s any abnormality with liver functioning.
There are other tests like CT scan, chest X-ray, MRI etc., which can also be used to get more info about the developing cancer.
- There are a lot of factors that can define the chances of recovery of the patient. Some of them are-
- The stage of cancer when the illness is discovered (the sooner, the better)
- Whether the tumour can be entirely removed by a surgery
- The anatomy of the cancer cells that are present in the gallbladder
- Whether it the first time that the cancer has appeared or it’s a comeback
- Other obvious facts like the age of the patient, their health condition, and the quality of the treatment
All these aspects contribute to the recovery rate of the patient.
- There are many stages of gallbladder cancer. They are mainly categorized as –
- Stage 0: In this stage, unusual and abnormal cells are found in the innermost layer of the gallbladder. These cells might develop into cancer cell.
- Stage I: Stage I has two sub-stages: IA and IB. IA is the stage where the cancer has passed through the innermost layer and IB is the stage where the cancer has spread beyond the muscle layer to the connective tissue.
- Stage II: This stage is divided into IIA and IIB. In IIA, the cancer spreads beyond the thin layer that covers the gallbladder. And in IIB, it spreads to the connective tissues and lymph nodes.
- Stage III: In Stage III, the cancer enters the main blood vessel in the liver and might spread to nearby organs soon.
- Stage IV: In this stage, the cancer has spread beyond blood nodes of liver and to the other nearby organs.
- Some of the gallbladder cancer treatment options for gallbladder cancer:
- Radiation therapy
- Gallbladder cancer is generally categorized into:
- Localized Gallbladder Cancer
- Unresectable Gallbladder Cancer
- Recurrent Gallbladder Cancer
- The five-year survival rate of people suffering from gallbladder cancer is almost 19%. A five-year survival rate depicts how many people survived for more than 5 years after the cancer was discovered.
These are some of the most important facts about gallbladder cancer. It is important to have awareness about such diseases and consult a physician at the earliest when you find signs or symptoms of cancer.