All you should know about gallbladder cancerWith less than 5,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S in each year, gallbladder cancer is with no doubt very rate. Of those, less than 1700 people get to die from this disease. The cancer commonly affects the bile track with women being more susceptible this cancer as well as those aged above 60 years.

Risk factors of gallbladder cancer

Even though not so many Americans are affected by gallbladder cancer as such, the disease is still a big concern in the U.S. This is mainly because of the fact that the cancer is only diagnosed when it is in its late stage and this makes treatment quite difficult. It is only a third of the cases get diagnosed early before it finally spreads to other areas beyond the gallbladder. Among the common risk factors of this disease include:

  • Gallbladder polyps
  •  Gallstones
  • Overweight/ obesity
  • Being female
  • Being aged above 65 years
  • native American descents
  • porcelain gallbladder- a condition characterized by hardening of the gallbladder walls due to calcium deposits
  • having typhoid even though this is quite rare in U.S
  • bile duct abnormality
  • choledochal cysts- bile sacs which form on bile ducts
  • a history in the family of gallbladder cancer

Types of gallbladder cancer: Adenocarconomas

While a couple of gallbladder cancer exist, adenocarconomas are ideally the most common with 9/10 gallbladder cases being adenocarconomas. This type of cancer starts at the gland like cells which are found at the lining of digestive tract, which includes the gallbladder as well. Papillary adenocarconomas is ideally a sub-type of adenocarconomas which is otherwise known as papillary cancer. About 6% of gallbladder cancers are usually papillary adenocarconomas. A microscope can be used for distinguishing this particular type of cancer as the cancerous cell growth look like fingers. Papillary adenocarconomas prognosis is much better compared to other types of gallbladder cancers and chances that the cancer will affect the liver and the lymph nodes are usually very low.

Types of gallbladder cancer: carcinomas

Other gallbladder cancer types are even much rarer compared to adenocarconomas such as:

  • Squamous cell carcinomas: the cancers form squamous cells initially.
  • Adenosquamous carcinomas: this cancer comprises of two types of cells, the glandular and squamous cells that are found in the adenocarconomas.
  • Small cell carcinoma- otherwise known as oat cell carcinoma and the cancer is very dangerous.
  • Neuroendocrine gallbladder tumors- the tumors usually grow from the tissues producing hormones with carcinoid tumor being the most common.
  • Gallbladder lymphoma: this gallbladder cancer is extremely rare and it is often treated with radiation therapy and chemo rather than surgery.
  • Sarcoma gallbladder cancer: the sarcomas arise from connective tissues, which include the blood vessels, nerves and muscles.

The early the gallbladder cancer is diagnosed, the better its prognosis will be.