Will My Gallbladder Issues Cause Cancer?
It’s a rare but aggressive disease – Gallbladder cancer. Many patients experiencing gallbladder issues are concerned that it may be a contributory risk to gallbladder cancer. The short answer is that gallbladder disease does not typically cause cancer, however extremely large gallstones have been shown to have a correlation with a higher incidence of gallbladder cancer. This is one of the reasons why we suggest not waiting to treat gallbladder disease and gallstones. It is also why we send the excised gallbladder to pathology after surgery – Just to make sure.
Being that the risk of gallbladder cancer is so low, it is important to cover the most common and problematic issues associated with gallbladder disease:
- First is the possibility of a gallstone becoming lodged in the common bile duct. Depending on the size gallstones, one or more may exit the gallbladder. This can create a blockage of bile that causes the gallbladder to become infected and swell. The blockage of a bile duct can also affect the liver causing the patient to become jaundiced – where their skin and eyes turn a yellowish tint.
- The gallbladder can also cause acute pancreatitis – an infection within the pancreas. This is a very serious condition that must be treated immediately and usually requires the gallbladder being removed along with adjunctive treatment of the pancreas.
- If left untreated, the gallbladder can also leak or rupture, creating a very dangerous infection within the abdominal cavity called peritonitis.
- At the very minimum, patients will feel a great deal of discomfort and physical limitation associated with untreated gallbladder disease.
The gallbladder is not a necessary organ and the vast majority of patients live a normal life with no physical or dietary restrictions after their gallbladder is removed. However, gallbladder disease is not something to ignore and should be checked out by your physician or specialist as soon as possible. Remember, that many other abdominal diseases and conditions share some of the symptoms of gallbladder disease, so ruling out certain other conditions is important as well.Back To All Posts