Gallbladder cancer responds well to early intervention, but because it rarely causes symptoms to start with, the cancer is usually first found when it’s more advanced. If you’re concerned about gallbladder cancer, the highly experienced team of oncologists at Wellness Oncology & Hematology in West Hills and Tarzana, California, can help. Their specialist physicians have considerable expertise in diagnosing and treating gallbladder cancer, so call to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.
Gallbladder cancer is a rare condition that affects the gallbladder, a small organ that sits just beneath your liver. The gallbladder acts as a storage unit for a fluid called bile, which your body needs to digest fats.
The cause of gallbladder cancer isn’t clear. Cancer develops when healthy cells in the gallbladder mutate, which changes their DNA. The mutated cells grow and multiply without stopping, forming a tumor in the gallbladder and, in time, spreading to other tissues.
Your risk of developing gallbladder cancer is higher if you’re a woman or if you’ve previously had gallbladder conditions like gallstones, polyps, or a chronic gallbladder infection.
Gallbladder cancer causes few if any symptoms at first. Because of this, an early-stage diagnosis doesn’t happen very often, and the cancer is usually only detected once it has spread to other organs. This is a problem, as in the early stages the cancer is easier to treat, but in the later stages, the prognosis isn’t so good.
If you do have any symptoms, they could include:
The abdominal pain tends to center on the upper right area of your abdomen.
Treatment of gallbladder cancer depends on the stage of your cancer and any other health issues you have, as well as your personal preferences. Whenever possible, the team at Wellness Oncology & Hematology aims to remove cancer. When this isn’t possible, they work to reduce its spread and ease your symptoms.
Surgery for early-stage gallbladder cancer can be highly effective if it’s done before the cancer spreads. In this case, your surgical team takes out the entire gall bladder. Surgery is also possible if the cancer has spread into your liver, in which case the team removes the gallbladder and a portion of the liver and, in some cases, parts of the bile ducts as well.
You probably will also need chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells with chemicals, radiation therapy, which kills cancer cells using X-rays or protons, or both following your gallbladder surgery. If the gallbladder cancer spreads beyond your liver, surgery isn’t going to cure it. In this case, the best options are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The team at Wellness Oncology & Hematology takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating your gallbladder cancer, providing you with a personalized treatment plan that addresses every need to promote wellness and limit the effects of cancer. Call today or book an appointment online.