The gallbladder is an organ which stores bile (a fluid made by the liver which helps in digesting fat). The gallbladder releases bile through a common bile duct tube, and these ducts connect the gallbladder and liver to the small intestine. Any abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth may lead to gallbladder cancer.
Gallbladder cancer may not show early signs and symptoms. Symptoms include
The exact cause which leads to gallbladder cancer is unknown. However, certain risk factors will increase the chances of cancer.
Gallbladder cancer is challenging to diagnose in the early stages as the patient does not present with symptoms. When you visit the doctor with symptoms, he will examine you to identify the problem.
After confirmation of cancer, your doctor may ask you to go for additional tests to determine the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes or other areas of your body. These tests also help in determining the grade of cancer. These tests may include:
Treatment of gallbladder cancer depends on various factors like the stage of the cancer, the patient's age, and his overall health. A combination of treatments like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, etc is planned for patients which are best suited for them.
After open surgery, the stay in the hospital will be around 3-5 weeks, and it may take about 6-8 weeks to return to normal activities. This is the time where your body is in the recovery phase. You may experience some complications like pain and discomfort around the incision that pain medications will manage, and it will gradually heal.Once discharged from the hospital, the pain will be managed by the oral medications prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor will call you for regular postoperative evaluations. In case you face any problem after surgery, please get in touch with your doctor immediately.
The survival rate of the patient depends on the factors like type and stage of gallbladder cancer.
Almost one-third of patients experienced a recurrence after gallbladder cancer surgery. It is advisable to be vigilant with the follow-up protocol, and in case of any problem you experience, inform your doctor immediately. The doctor will perform a physical exam and recommend you to go for tests to learn as much as possible about the recurrence. After the testing is done, your doctor may plan the best treatment option available that might include previous treatment as well.
Prevention of gallbladder cancer is not possible. However, by making some lifestyle modifications, you can lower the risk.