Currently, there are no known ways to prevent the onset of gallbladder cancer. In fact, gallbladder cancer is a rare disease that does not usually present any symptoms until in its later stages.
Unfortunately, this often leads to a poor prognosis, making it harder for your Baltimore cancer surgeon to handle.
Though there are no official ways to prevent this terrible disease, it has been noted by many gallbladder specialists that learning about the several risk factors that may lead to a gallbladder cancer diagnosis is a good way to avoid developing this type of cancer in the first place. Though not guaranteed, it cannot hurt to make healthier choices and attempt to decrease your chances of getting gallbladder cancer.
Today we will look at common risk factors that are thought to lead to gallbladder cancer, as well as some healthy alternatives, all in the hopes of aiding you to lead a healthier lifestyle and possibly prevent developing cancer.
Risk Factors and Healthy Alternatives That May Help Prevent Gallbladder Cancer
Several possible risk factors are thought to lead to a gallbladder cancer diagnosis. However, your Baltimore physician can give you plenty of counteractive ways to help lower your chances, especially if you are already experiencing gallbladder trouble.
Risk Factor #1 – Gallstones
Gallstones are the most common risk factor thought to cause gallbladder cancer.
If you have had gallstones at any point in your life, your risk of having gallbladder cancer in the future increases. In fact, it has been determined that at least three out of four people with gallbladder cancer also have gallstones and inflammation. Further, the longer you have gallstones, the more irritation your gallbladder experiences, boosting your overall risk for cancer.
Here are some excellent ways to lower your chances of getting gallstones:
- Lower your weight
- Follow a healthy diet
- Decrease the size of or remove altogether gallstones
- Check gallstone inducing medications
- Consider a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Risk Factor #2 – Chemical Exposure
Industrial and environmental chemical exposure is not a proven risk factor for developing gallbladder cancer, though it is believed to be harmful to your overall health. In fact, as the American Cancer Society states, more research is needed because gallbladder cancer is such a rare cancer, it is hard to effectively study.
That said, there have been some studies showing that certain professionals, such as those in the rubber and textile industries, are more likely to develop gallbladder cancer in their lifetime.
Try to avoid any excess chemical exposure if possible, whether that be in your job or environmentally. And, if your profession does expose you to higher than normal amounts of chemical agents, make sure to regularly visit your gallbladder specialist to ensure your health.
Early diagnoses of gallbladder cancer have the best future outcomes.
Risk Factor #3 – Carcinogens
Carcinogens are cancer-causing agents that are often found in things you ingest. And, since your liver is the detoxifying organ in your body as well as the producer of bile (which flows directly through the gallbladder during the digestive process), any harmful substances you ingest come in contact with your gallbladder and can cause cancer.
The best way to avoid excess strain on your liver and exposing your gallbladder to carcinogens is to eliminate them from your diet as much as possible. This includes things like excessively processed and fatty foods, cigarettes, illegal drugs, and even alcohol.
Risk Factor #4 – Disease
In some cases, diseases of the gallbladder can have an impact on whether you will later have gallbladder cancer. Here are some of the most common:
- Gallbladder Polyps. A gallbladder polyp typically forms because of excess cholesterol deposits on the inside of the gallbladder itself. Additionally, inflammation of the gallbladder due to gallstones or other irritants can cause a polyp to form. Sometimes these polyps are malignant tumors and must be treated.
- Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. This is inflammation of the gallbladder, specifically the bile ducts connected to the gallbladder, can cause cancerous cells to form and tumors to grow.
- Abnormal Bile Ducts. Sometimes people are born with an abnormal biliary tree. This abnormality causes pancreatic juices to backflow into the bile ducts irritating the area, including the gallbladder. This irritation is a breeding ground for cancerous cells that can turn into gallbladder cancer.
- Choledochal Cysts. Cysts that form on the outside of the common bile duct fill with bile and grow over time. Due to constant exposure to the highly concentrated bile, these cysts can become cancerous and affect the nearby gallbladder.
- Porcelain Gallbladder. If your gallbladder becomes covered with calcium deposits, you have what is considered a porcelain gallbladder. Usually because of long-term gallbladder inflammation, this disease can lead to gallbladder cancer as well.
It is true that many of these diseases are out of your control. However, by following a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet and regular exercise, you may lower your chances of ever having to face these diseases and thus gallbladder cancer. Moreover, if you do have gallbladder disease, it is more important than ever to see your Baltimore gallbladder surgeon to ensure that you receive the proper treatment right away.
Being proactive will lessen your chances of one disease turning into another one, especially something as serious as cancer.
Risk Factor #5 – Gender, Age, and Ethnicity
Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with gallbladder cancer in the United States. To add to that, women are more likely to experience the precursors to gallbladder cancer – gallstones and gallbladder inflammation – than men are.
Gallbladder cancer is usually found in people older than 65. Therefore, as you age your risk of developing gallbladder cancer increases dramatically.
Lastly, the highest rate of gallbladder cancer is found in Mexican and Native Americans. And, if you reside in the following countries, you too will have a higher chance of developing gallbladder cancer:
- South America
- Central Europe
As much as people would love to be able to change things such as their DNA, it is quite impossible. And unfortunately, there is no real fountain of youth preventing you from aging.
So, as a healthy alternative the best thing to do here is take care of your body the best you can, visit your physician regularly, and get the best treatment possible if facing a gallbladder cancer diagnosis.
In the end, there are no official ways to prevent getting gallbladder cancer. However, understanding the risk factors that may lead to a gallbladder cancer, paired with some healthy options that may help avoid cancer is a useful approach to this rare disease.
If you or someone you know is facing any type of gallbladder disease, especially gallbladder cancer, contact Dr. Fraiman at the Liver and Pancreas Center in Maryland.
With an exceptional team of specialists aiding him with individualized patient treatments, Dr. Fraiman has the experience and knowledge to help you gain your health back. In fact, he has put in years of hard work and dedication so that people facing serious health hardships can receive the best care possible.