Are there things I can do to prevent gallbladder cancer?
By: Dr. Thomas Incledon
It is difficult to fully answer this question because at this point, the cause of gallbladder cancer is unknown. That being said, there are a few things that relate to known contributing factors that may lessen the chance of developing gallbladder cancer and affect your overall health.
- Effectively treating gallstones. If you have frequent issues with gallstones, you may want to make changes to your diet and eat more low-fat foods. There are also medications and surgical options to consider. Just because you have gallstones does not mean that you will develop gallbladder cancer, however people diagnosed with gallbladder cancer always have gallstones as a precursor. The correlation is likely connected to the issue of inflammation, which is a known factor in cancer development. Continuous inflammation from gallstones can lead to calcium deposits and, overtime, that can progress to gallbladder cancer.
- Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen. It is known that obesity contributes to developing gallbladder cancer, so staying healthy and decreasing excess fat in the body can act as a preventative measure. This may be especially important if you are a woman who has gallstones since women are three to four times more likely to develop gallbladder cancer than men.
- Seeing a doctor on an annual basis. Because gallbladder cancer is hard to detect, having regular check-ups that can easily uncover elevated bilirubin levels in the blood is key. Symptoms like abdominal pain and fever are not overt and can often be excused by other issues in the body, so being aware of other, more specific markers can help with early detection or prevention of gallbladder cancer.
- Removing the gallbladder. For some patients, this may prevent cancer from developing or spreading. However, surgically removing the gallbladder has lifelong side effects that you should take into account, especially if there is not yet a sign of cancer. People without a gallbladder have a hard time absorbing certain fats and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D and K, which are important for overall health. So, if pain or digestive issues are causing you to consider having your gallbladder removed, be aware of this and also know what your alternatives are. Dr. Tom Incledon, founder and CEO of Causenta has had a lot of success with patients who try exercises to alleviate abdominal pain and avoid surgery. Before recommending a treatment path, the team at Causenta will monitor bilirubin levels to determine if exercise and other modifications are decreasing. “Even in situations where patients have cancer and bilirubin levels are increasing, where the surgery is the best treatment option, we still advise them to do the exercises to decrease pain,” he says.
The keys with doing as much as you can to prevent gallbladder cancer are living an overall healthy life and staying up-to-date with your health status through regular doctor’s appointments. Knowing what is going on in your body allows you to make informed decisions about your health, especially when you have been diagnosed with gallbladder cancer.
If you are interested in learning more about gallbladder cancer and personalized treatment options at Causenta, schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation today.