Understanding Gallbladder Cancer Risk Factors

By Alley Benton
Updated December 11, 2016
Read our Disclaimer

Understanding Gallbladder Cancer Risk FactorsGallbladder cancer, as implied in the name, is a form of cancer that specifically effects the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ towards the right-hand side of your abdomen, underneath your liver. This space stores bile, which is the digestive fluid produced by your liver. Today, gallbladder cancer is highly uncommon, and when it is discovered early, the chance for a full cure is actually very good. However, many gallbladder cancers are discovered at a late stage, which is why it's so essential to know the common gallbladder cancer risk factors.

Some basic risk factors include:

- Older age - The average age of people diagnosed is 72.

- Obesity - Patients with gallbladder cancer are more commonly obese or overweight.

- Female gender - Gallbladder cancer occurs more than twice as frequently in women.

- Ethnicity - The risk of developing cancer in the gallbladder is higher among Mexican and Native Americans.

Gallstones as Risk Factor:

One of the most common gallbladder cancer risk factors is gallstones. These are small masses of cholesterol and other substances that can cause chronic inflammation. Around 3 out of 4 people with gallbladder cancer also have gallstones when they are diagnosed. However, most people with gallstones do develop gallbladder cancer.

Porcelain Gallbladder:

Another of the most frequently cited gallbladder cancer risk factors is the presence of a condition known as porcelain gallbladder. In this condition, the walls of the gallbladder are covered with deposits of calcium, and this issue can be caused by gallstones.

Choledochal Cysts:

These bile-filled sacs are connected to the common bile duct. These cysts can grow much larger over time and contain as much as two quarts of bile. Often, the cells that line the sac have begun to engage in abnormal pre-cancerous changes, which might increase your risk of getting gallbladder cancer.

Gallbladder Polyps:

A polyp on the gallbladder is a type of growth that bulges out from the surface of the gallbladder wall. Some of these polyps are formed as a result of cholesterol-heavy deposits in the wall of the gallbladder, while others may be small tumors - either benign or cancerous, which are caused by inflammation.

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis:

In the case of primary sclerosing cholangitis, inflammation and scarring occur throughout the bile ducts. Often, people with this disease therefore experience a greater risk of cancer within the bile ducts and gallbladder. Some people who suffer from this condition also find that they end up being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

Exposure to Environmental and Industrial Chemicals:

At this time, experts are unsure whether exposure to various chemicals in the environment might increase your risk of suffering from gallbladder cancer. Sometimes, understanding gallbladder cancer risk factors can be difficult because this form of cancer is not very common. Various studies into lab animals have suggested that chemical compounds known as nitrosamines could increase the risks associated with gallbladder cancer. What's more, other studies have discovered that gallbladder cancer can occur more often in workers throughout the textile and rubber industries than those in the general public.

Typhoid:

Finally, people who are chronically infected with salmonella - the type of bacteria that causes typhoid, and people who simply carry the disease are generally more likely to end up with gallbladder cancer than those who aren't infected.





* Disclaimer:
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.