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Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancers

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Gallbladder and bile duct cancers are relatively rare, affecting an estimated 9,800 Americans in 2012.

What are gallbladder and bile duct cancers?

The gallbladder is located in the upper abdomen and stores bile, which aids digestion; the bile duct transports bile, and links the liver and the gallbladder to the small intestine. The most common type of gallbladder and bile duct cancers are adenocarcinomas, which form in cells that line these parts of the body.

Who develops gallbladder and bile duct cancers?

Risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing gallbladder and bile duct cancers include:

  • being female
  • having had gallstones (slightly increases the risk)
  • having other conditions that cause inflammation or damage, such as porcelain gallbladder, ulcerative colitis and cirrhosis
  • increasing age
  • obesity

What are the symptoms of gallbladder and bile duct cancers?

Symptoms of gallbladder and bile duct cancers can be attributed to other, less serious conditions. That’s why it’s important to see your physician, who can give you a definitive diagnosis, if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • abdominal pain (upper right abdomen) or bloating
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • fever
  • itching
  • jaundice
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • unintentional weight loss

How are gallbladder and bile duct cancers diagnosed?

In addition to a physical exam and thorough health history, you may need blood tests, imaging tests (such as an abdominal ultrasound, computed tomography [CT] or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] scans, X-rays) and/or a biopsy (removal of tissue for further testing).

How are gallbladder and bile duct cancers treated?

Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are standard treatments for these types of cancers. However, your physician can help you determine the course of treatment that may work best for you.

Valley Hospital is proud to offer the latest treatment options for gallbladder and bile duct cancer, including minimally invasive surgery through its Institute for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery. For more information, call 201-447-8012.

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