What is cancer?

Cancer is a condition in which the body cells grow abnormally and attack healthy tissues. It can affect anyone at any age, and if not detected timely, the disease can increase the risk of fatality. 

The 4th of February is observed as World Cancer Day every year to increase awareness about various types of cancers. This year, the theme is ‘Close the Care Gap’.

The number of cancer patients in India is increasing significantly. According to research, approximately 14 lakh Indians got diagnosed with cancer in 2020. 

Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is one of the most common types of cancer in India and contributes to around 10 per cent of the GBC cases in the world. 

The condition is often left untreated for a prolonged time mainly because most people are unaware of the facts related to gallbladder cancer. As you continue to read this article, you’ll learn about such important facts thoroughly.

What is the gallbladder?

The gallbladder resides below the liver on the right side of the abdomen. It is a small organ shaped like a pear.

It is a part of the digestive system, and the main function of this organ is to store bile. 

Bile is a fluid secreted by the liver to help in fat breakdown and remove waste products from the body.

What is gallbladder cancer (GBC)?

When the cells in the gallbladder begin growing abnormally, they can cause gallbladder cancer. 

In India, most cases of GBC are from the northern regions, especially Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

It is crucial to be aware of the symptoms, causes, risk factors, image testing, and some preventive measures to minimize the risk of GBC.

Symptoms of gallbladder cancer?

Gallbladder cancer signs and symptoms that you should look out for include:

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Visible yellowing of the skin & white of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Fever, nausea & vomiting
  • Abdominal lumps

Note: It can be hard to identify the symptoms of gallbladder cancer until the condition advances.

Gallbladder cancer risk factors

The risk of gallbladder cancer increases if you are:

  • A smoker
  • Affected by gallbladder stone
  • An older adult
  • Obese
  • Eating unhealthy diet

Gallbladder diagnostic image testing

Diagnostic image testing provides images of the interior parts of the body to ascertain the well-being of any organ and gland.

The following image testings can aid in identifying gallbladder cancer:

  • CT scan: Can deliver detailed images of the gallbladder

Preventive measures for gallbladder cancer

Preventing the onset of gallbladder cancer may not be in your control, but taking steps to keep the gallbladder healthy may help reduce the risk of GBC.

A few expert-recommended ways to keep the gallbladder at the top of its health include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Have more whole grain foods
  • Stay active & maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid fried foods & include more fruits & veggies
  • Drink sufficient water (two to three litres a day)
  • Snack on nuts, berries & kiwi
  • Avoid non-vegetarian diet
  • Seek medical intervention without delay

Final thoughts

Gallbladder cancer is a serious condition that should not be left untreated as it can increase the risk of fatality. 

If you experience any symptoms, seeking immediate medical intervention can help control the spread of the cancerous cells, allowing you to lead a healthy life.

Furthermore, you can also minimize the risk of GBC by taking preventive measures, whether you have or don’t have exposure to risk factors.

Besides, you should also frequently opt for gallstone and cancer screening. These health checks can provide you with vital insights into your health, allowing you to take necessary measures to improve it.

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