Before we talk about gallbladder cancer is all about , we need to have the knowledge of gallbladder and their function . Through this, we can gain knowledge of how they are related.
Gallbladder is an organ located beneath and behind the liver. This helps in the production or storage of enzymes called bile or fall. The gallbladder helps the digestion of fatty food in the gut.
The organ ( gallbladder) is measured about 7cm to 10cm in length and it has the capacity to store 30ml to 50ml of bike or gall. The gallbladder vhas various parts which include the fundus( round base which faces the abdominal wall), the body (lies in the surface of the lower liver and the largest part of the gallbladder) and neck .
Functions of the gallbladder
- Storage of bile or gall: Bile or gall is an enzymes that is produced in the liver . It is transported through the bile duct into the gallbladder where it is stored until the bile or gall is needed or required by the body .
- Release of bile or gall: When there is presence of fat containing food in the gut . The gallbladder is triggered to secrete bile or fall which is an enzyme that is required by the body to enable the digestion of fat containing food (chyme) .
- Linkage of cystic duct coming from the bladder and common hepatic duct which is coming from the Liver. The common hepatic ducts and cystic duct form common bile duct which helps in the transport of bile or gall from the liver down to the gallbladder . Through this process, the bile is stored in the gallbladder.
Gallbladder cancer is said to be an unusual or uncommon type of cancer. That is gallbladder cancer is known to be a rare sickness. Gallbladder cancer can be defined as the improper, abnormal multiplications or division of gallbladder cells .
The gallbladder cancer affects the surface glands in the gallbladder. Similarly, gallbladder cancer can also be linked or related to gallstones, gallbladder polyps and saturated calcification of gallbladder.
Symptoms or Effects of gallbladder cancer
Gallbladder cancer can cause the following . Through the following ,there is a possibility of gallbladder cancer in your system.
- Jaundice: This is as a result of yellowing of skin, white part of the eyes and the urine. Excessive secretion of bile or gall into the blood stream due to gallbladder cancer, will lead to destruction of blood cells. Invariably , it can also lead to excess deposition of components of red blood cell which will result to Jaundice
- Weight Loss: Excess secretion of gall or bile from the gallbladder as a result of gallbladder cancer , will lead to rapid digestion of food substance. This can result to weight loss.
- Pain in the upper right corner of the abdomen: This pain is as a result of improper enlargement of the gallbladder in its location at the upper right corner of the abdomen behind the liver
- Abdominal bloating: This is as a result of abdominal distention . If the gallbladder is being enlarge as a result of gallbladder cancer, it will make the abdomen to swell up.
- Vomiting: Some people with gallbladder cancer are likely to have vomiting as a symptom of gallbladder cancer but in rare cases.
Other symptoms includes:
- Loss of appetite
- Itchy skin
- Lumps in the belly
- Light colour stools
Risk Factors of gallbladder Cancer
Research has it that, there is no cause of gallbladder cancer , but there can be some risk factors that can lead to gallbladder cancer. Risk factor is what will make you get the disease more than any other person’s.
- Gallstones: This is a solid deposit of cholesterol with the fluid in the gallbladder. So when there is too much cholesterol or any other harmful substances in the gallbladder, it can lead to gallbladder cancer. And also you are likely to have a gallbladder cancer if only you had an history of gallstones in your system .
- Smoking: Normally, we all know that smoking is not good for our health . It can cause damages to our system . So, smoking tobacco affects the hepatobiliary system which can cause damage to the gallbladder.
- Gender: In this gender case of gallbladder cancer, women are likely to have it more than men. It can be as a result of chronic inflammation in the body.
- Age: Gallbladder is likely to occur as you grow older. This cancer ususally occur to those over the age of 65 or 73 as the case maybe .
- Genetic History: If your family has the history of gallbladder cancer, it might increase the rate of which you can get gallbladder cancer too.
- Gallbladder Polyps: This is a small growth of tissue that extends from the lining ,inside the gallbladder. Gallbladder polyps maybe as a result of inflammed gallbladder .
- Chronicgall bladder Infection: This infection irritates the gallbladder wall. It can either be typhoid and paratyphoid infection.
- Obesity: This can cause gallbladder cancer but as a result of gallstones in the body.
Stages of gallbladder cancer
Gallbladder cancer can be treated based on the stages.
- First stage: This is when the gallbladder cancer is said to be in the inner layer of the gallbladder. In this stage, the gallbladder cancer is likely to look like the gallbladder cells. The tumor is not very pronounced at this stage.
- Second stage: This is when the gallbladder move to the outer layer of the gallbladder.
- Third stage: This stage means that the gallbladder cancer has move to an organ which is close to the gallbladder. The organ can be the liver, small intestine or the stomach. It might even affect the lymph nodes and swelling of lymph nodes can cause cancer.
- Forth stage: This is the last stage whereby the large tumor affects the nearby organs . The tumor can spread around or other far areas in the body.
As listed above, the treatments are base on the stages of the gallbladder cancer.
- Surgery: Surgery is the removal of the abnormal multiplications or division of cells found in the body . The main aim of surgeries is to remove as much tumor as possible but not necessarily mean the whole tumor. It is done to avoid symptoms.
Surgeries can be done during the early stages of gallbladder cancer . If the gallbladder is affected , it can be removed. Also if it goes beyond the gallbladder, and affects the liver, then the gallbladder and part of the liver and bile ducts will be removed too .
- Chemotherapy: This treatment is done during the late stage of gallbladder cancer. It is a drug that is taken to kill cancer cells found in the body. The drug can also help to reduce the spread of cancer to other part of the body.
- Radiation therapy: It is a treatment that uses high energy radiation , such as x-ray, protons to kill cancer cells , tumor found in the body.
- Clinical trial: This clinical trial is a new way to treat gallbladder cancer . It can either be a new drug, device or other treatments. It is advisable to ask your doctor before you can undergo clinical trial.
Diagnosis of Gallbladder Cancer
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a sound waves used to produce pictures or images of the gallbladder and bile duct. In this case of the gallbladder cancer, the ultrasound helps to detect if there is any inflammation in the gallbladder. And also helps to identify if the lymph nodes are already enlarged.
- Computer temography (CT) scan: This scan is more preferable than x ray exams. In the sense that, it shows more detailed images . It helps to show the tumor in the particular areas and how far the virus have spread in the body. There is another type of CT scan known as CT angiography. This scan helps to detect if there is any issue in the blood vessels close to the gallbladder.
- Liver Function Test: This test are test done through blood samples. This help to identify if there is any substance released in to the blood by the liver.
- Biopsy: This diagnosis is done with a thin needle which is inserted into the gallbladder. The thin needle helps to remove tumor from the gallbladder.
Other diagnosis include:
- MRI ( Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
- Blood Chemistry Studies
- Physical exam history
- Percutaneous transhepatic Cholangiography
- CA 19-9 assay
The gallbladder cancer might be a rare sickness but it is advisable to always go for checkup if you feel any symptoms in your body. And you should try as much as possible to maintain a healthy diet, healthy weight and doing of exercise.
Eating healthy food helps builds up the immune system which can also help fight against any form of diseases in the body.