Gallbladder Cancer: 10 Important Things You Should Know About the Disease

4Causes of gallbladder cancer

Till now experts are not sure what causes gallbladder cancer. What is known is that gallbladder adenocarcinoma can develop because of cell changes or DNA mutations where cells affected continue to live and spread. The multiplying cells form tumors that start spreading beyond the gallbladder to other tissues and organs of the body.

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Most gallbladder cancer begins in the glandular cells that line the inner sur the organ. This is when the cancer is termed gallbladder adenocarcinoma referring to the way the cancer cells will appear under a microscopic examination.

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5Gallbladder cancer risk factors

There are various factors that can contribute, trigger or cause gallbladder cancer.

  • Gender, where it is more common in women
  • Age, gallbladder cancer risk increases with age
  • Gallstones where those who have had a history of gallstones even though it is still rare
  • Gallstones that aren’t removed. Neglect or failure to remove gallstones can lead to tumors and gallbladder adenocarcinoma.
  • Smoking

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6Gallbladder cancer diagnosis

Gallbladder cancer diagnosis can be done by blood tests that usually analyze liver function to help a doctor locate the cause of signs and symptoms of gallbladder cancer. MRI, CT scan, computerized tomography are also procedures to diagnose cancer of the gallbladder. In case of a diagnosis, a doctor will try to find out the extent of cancer or at what stage it is in to formulate suitable treatment.

The extent of cancer will be envisaged from various methods like exploratory surgery, laparoscopy, tests to examine the bile ducts and various imaging tests to determine if the cancer is localized or spread to surrounding areas.

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7Gallbladder cancer stages

The stages of gallbladder cancer are:

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  • Stage I. when the inner layer of the gallbladder is affected
  • Stage II: When cancer spreads to the outer layers
  • Stage III: When cancer has spread and infected one or more neighboring organs like the intestine, liver or stomach or even lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV: The last stage of gallbladder cancer that has large tumors affecting multiple organs and other areas of the body.

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