Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month
Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month is perceived in February. Unlike other types of cancers, like breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer, there is an overall lack of knowledge about gallbladder and bile duct cancer among the general population. As a result, the aim of Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month is to keep people informed about these conditions, their symptoms, causes, and risk factors and raise awareness about them.
A Small Organ With Big Responsibilities
Gallbladder and bile duct cancers are rare types. The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ in the abdomen that sits beneath the liver. It collects and stores bile, a fluid produced by the liver to facilitate fat digestion. The bile ducts are small tubes that transport bile fluid from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine.
Cancer develops in the gallbladder, usually in the innermost layers, and gradually spreads to the surrounding tissues. 9 out of 10 gallbladder cancer cases account for adenocarcinomas. Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that occurs in gland-like cells that line internal or external surfaces of the body, including the digestive tract. Cholangiocarcinoma is another name for bile duct cancer. It can be intrahepatic or extrahepatic forms, cancers forming in the ducts inside and outside the liver.
Prevalence Of The Condition
Gallbladder cancer is the world's 23rd most common cancer. It is the 23rd most common type of cancer in males and the 20th most common in females. In 2020, there were over 115,000 new cases of gallbladder cancer. India has a high incidence of gallbladder cancer (GBC) and accounts for approximately 10% of the global GBC burden. Especially within India, the incidence rate is more in Northern India, where 9/100000 population are affected, and less common in Southern parts.
Symptoms Of Gallbladder And Bile Duct Cancer
Both types of cancers share the common symptoms
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lumps in the abdomen
- Unintended weight loss
- Dark urine and clay-colored stools.
As a result, it is crucial that everyone learns about the risk factors and symptoms of gallbladder and bile duct cancer. Any unusual sign should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible.
Causes And Risk Factors
While the exact causes of gallbladder cancer are unknown, mutations in the gallbladder cells are known to be the most popular cause. Apart from this, a history of gallstones is considered the leading risk factor. These tiny crystals, composed of hardened bile and cholesterol, can form within the gallbladder and obstruct bile passage. This can cause discomfort, inflammation, and jaundice. Despite the fact that this condition increases the risk of developing gallbladder cancer, it is significant to remember that gallstones are common, but gallbladder cancer is not.
Other common risk factors include,
- Gallbladder diseases and infections,
- Inflammation in the bile duct
Early Detection Saves Lives
Although gallbladder cancer is treatable if detected early, it is extremely difficult to detect before it spreads to other parts of the body. Gallbladder cancer can be difficult to detect in its early stages because symptoms do not usually develop until the disease has spread. Because the gallbladder is located deep within the body, it is difficult to detect early gallbladder cancer.
Doctors usually start with liver function tests to look for high levels of bilirubin. Imaging tests create images of your internal organs using x-rays, magnetic fields, or sound waves. Ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRI scans are just imaging tests used to diagnose gallbladder cancer.
Physicians use a staging system to describe the extent of cancer. Gallbladder cancer is staged using the TNM system. The TNM system is built around three key chunks of information:
T indicates how far the primary tumor has grown into the gallbladder's primary wall.
N shows whether or not the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
M indicates whether or not the cancer has spread to other organs. The liver, lining of the abdominal cavity, and lungs are the most common sites of gallbladder cancer spread.
Treatment for cancer varies according to the type and stage of the disease but typically includes a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The primary treatment for gallbladder and bile duct cancers is surgery. Unfortunately, in two-thirds of cases, it is inoperable by the time it is diagnosed. Eating healthy foods, a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the most effective way to enhance and protect your gallbladder's health. Fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrient and fiber content are essential for gallbladder health.
Health Is The Key To Happiness
Understand what steps you can take to decrease your risk and make your gallbladder happy on this gallbladder and bile duct cancer awareness month 2023
- Drink plenty of water
- Load up with fruits and veggies
- Cut down fried foods
- Avoid crash diet
- Keep moving
- Maintain healthy weight