Gall bladder cancer occurs when cells in the mucosal layer of the gall bladder grow abnormally, forming a growth or tumour that is malignant (cancerous).
The gall bladder is a pear-shaped organ located under the liver, and its function is to store bile, a liquid produced by the liver to help digest fat. Bile travels through a tube called the common bile duct, which connects your gall bladder to your small intestine.
Gall bladder cancer is difficult to diagnose and often detected by chance or when it has already progressed to a late stage. It can spread to other parts of the body to nearby tissues, through the lymphatic system or the blood's circulatory system.
Gall bladder cancer is relatively rare in Singapore, occurring in 1.7 out of every 100,000 people.
Symptoms of gall bladder cancer are similar to other less serious conditions. They include:
If the gall bladder has reached at advanced stage, the following symptoms may be more severe:
It is unclear what causes cells in the gall bladder to become cancerous. However, there are some factors that may increase your risk.
Gall bladder cancer is more common in women and older persons, with most cases being diagnosed above the age of 75.
You may be more likely to get gall bladder cancer if you have:
The following lifestyle factors may also increase your risk:
There is no specific way to prevent gall bladder cancer, but you can reduce your risk by making adjustments to your lifestyle.