What is gallbladder?
The gallbladder can be defined as a small pear-shaped organ that stores and concentrates a substance called bile. Bile is actually a greenish liquid substance produced by the cells of the liver (hepatocytes) that aids in the digestion of fats. When you consume fatty food, it passes from the stomach into the small intestine, and triggers the lining of the small bowel to release a hormone called CCK (cholecystokinin). This is then flowed into the bloodstream reaching to the gallbladder, where it causes it to contract and send bile through the common bile duct and into the small bowel (duodenum).
What is gallbladder cancer?
Gallbladder cancers is caused due to the formation of malignant cells the gallbladder. These cells can spread to other organs and tissues (metastasis) very fast. The majority of gallbladder cancers are adenocarcinomas with subtypes such as papillary, nodular, and tubular, depending on the appearance of the tumor cells under the microscope. However, there are some less common subtypes which includes squamous cell, signet ring cell, and adenosquamous carcinoma.
However, people suffering from gallbladder inflammation, gallstones, gallbladder polyps, bile duct abnormalities, choledochal cysts and porcelain gallbladder are more prone to the diseases.
What causes gallbladder cancer?
There is not specific or declared symptoms of gallbladder and often people have no symptoms, or their symptoms closely mimic those of gallstones. There are some indirect symptoms that can be a sign or indication of having gall bladder cancer;
6 symptoms of gallbladder cancer;
- Loss of appetite,
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lumps in the abdomen
Why it is difficult to diagnose?
3 reasons why gallbladder is difficult to diagnose;
- As gallbladder is a hidden organ behind the liver, so difficult to the developing cancer
- Absence of signs or symptoms in the early stages of gallbladder cancer
- Presence of symptoms which are similar to other illnesses.
Many a times Gallbladder cancer is found when the gallbladder is removed for some other reasons. Patients with gallstones rarely develop gallbladder cancer.
How is gallbladder cancer staged?
There is a way to know the current stage of gallbladder cancer i.e. through Tumor – node – metastasis (TNM) system. It demonstrates the size and local invasiveness of the tumor, which, if any, lymph nodes are involved, and if it has spread to other more distant areas of the body. This is then interpreted as a stage somewhere as stage 1 which denotes more limited disease to stage 4 denoting more advanced disease. In the latter the patient is left with no option as the tumor is not opertable thus, reduces the gallbladder cancer life expectancy rate.
Diagnosis of gallbladder cancer
The diagnosis involves the combination of various test that the patient has to go through as the same time physical examination is also needed to be done for the proper treatment.
4 ways to diagnose gallbladder cancer;
- Ultrasound (US)
- CT scans
Treatment for gallbladder cancer
Gallbladder cancer can involves more than one type of treatment.
The procedure involves total surgical removal of the entire tumor. For early stage disease, surgery alone is considered curative. Once the tumor has spread to the muscle layer a more extensive surgery including removal of the gall bladder and resection of segments of the liver may become necessary. On the hand, in the later stages more radical surgical procedures is required to remove as much tumor as possible. This can involve removal of an entire lobe of liver, regional lymphadenectomy or even pancreaticduodenecctomy (Whipple). Once the patience reaches to stage 4, the tumor is likely not operable.
Radiation can be an another way which are high energy x-rays that are delivered to the patient in order to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be used after surgery, as part of the primary treatment or to relieve symptoms. For patients who are unable to undergo surgery, either because the disease is too advanced or because of other serious medical conditions, radiation therapy can be used with or without chemotherapy in order to improve symptoms, and in some cases, increase survival.
Chemotherapy usually given after surgery may be diagnosed depending on stage and success of surgical resection.
As the disease is difficult to diagnose also if the patient reaches to the last stage then it is important to take a proper gallbladder cancer treatment in Delhi as lot of good hospitals are available in the city.