Gallbladder cancer, just like any other cancer, is a silent killer. For many patients facing a diagnosis of gallbladder cancer, there can seem to be little or no hope. However, there is hope. In this article, we will take a serious look at gallbladder cancer. We will examine the disease itself. Then, we will tell you about risk factors, gallbladder cancer statistics, and symptoms. We will also tell you what some of your treatment options might include. Lastly, we will provide you with sources for further information.
Gallbladder Cancer as Stats
1. Each year over 10,000 adults in the US are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer.
2. Although this may seem like a high number, this actually makes gallbladder cancer one of the rarer forms of cancer.
3. In some areas of the globe, however, the disease is much more common. This form of cancer is also about half as common in women as it is in men.
4. Around 3 in 10 of patients that are diagnosed will eventually die of the disease.
5. As the disease progresses, patients are more likely to die from it than survive.
6. However, when caught very early, patients have an 8 in 10 rate of survival over a five year period.
7. Until stage IIA, survival rates for 5 years are all over 25%.
Gallbladder Cancer as a Disease
Gallbladder cancer is the same as any other cancer. Basically, it results when abnormal cells produce at an alarming rate. In this case, the area effected includes the gallbladder, lymph nodes, and even the liver. Sadly, most instances of gallbladder cancer is not discovered until the disease is very far along. If gallbladder cancer is caught early enough, it can actually be cured. The earliest sign of this disease is often ignored as a simple case of gallstones. In later stages, symptoms seem to more resemble that of a blockage in the stomach or in the bile ducts.
What Makes You More Likely to Get Gallbladder Cancer?
There are a few specific risk factors for gallbladder cancer. These can include your gender, as women as (as mentioned above) much more likely to get gallbladder cancer than men. Obesity also seems to increase your chances of being diagnosed with gallbladder cancer. Infections of the gallbladder (namely typhoid) can increase the risk of cancer by up to 200 times. Blockage of the cystic duct in the gallbladder can also make you more likely to get gallbladder cancer. Bad cases of gallstones can put you at risk. Certain types of bacteria in the vicinity can, as well.
Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer
As mentioned before, most instances of gallbladder cancer are not caught early enough to remove the cancer itself. However, you can be on the lookout for these symptoms as possible tell-tale signs. Please be aware that these can also indicate other issues with the gallbladder, as well, so sufficient testing must be done in order to confirm that cancer is actually the issue.
• The gallbladder is located in the upper right side of the abdomen. Constant or steady pain in that area is one sign.
• Sudden loss of weight and loss of appetite
• Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
If you even experience all of these symptoms at the same time, consult your doctor. Even if you do not have gallbladder cancer, you could suffer from gallstones, or possibly a blockage in the stomach or bile ducts.
As of right now, the only “cure,” for gallbladder cancer (or the only thing close) is to catch the disease very early and remove the afflicted tissues. Treatment for the disease in later stages various based upon patient health, progression of the disease, and more. Common treatments for all forms of cancer, like chemotherapy and radiology may be used in some cases. Palliative therapy, or draining bile from the area to help preserve quality and length of life, may be used if the disease has reached a very advanced stage. If you are looking for treatment options, be sure to talk to your doctors. They can consult others on your behalf and give you a better idea of what might be best for you.
Where to Get More Information
If you want more information about gallbladder cancer and gallbladder cancer statistics, start at your local healthcare provider. Your doctor is sure to have resources at hand to give you more info. They can also give you advice in case of a diagnoses, diagnose any suspected cases, and help figure out treatment, if needed. Other governmental and nonprofit organizations also have plenty of helpful information online. Medical journals and medical webpages may also be able to provide some helpful guidance. But keep in mind that all of these webpages (and the advice and opinions they give) should always be verified with your doctor or treatment team.