Gall bladder cancer is a malignancy of the organ, located just below the liver. Largely, gall bladder cancer prognosis is determined by when the cancer is detected and the stage at which the tumor is diagnosed.
The Extent of Gallbladder Cancer and Determining Gall Bladder Cancer Prognosis
Once the diagnosis is made, the doctor will establish the extent of the cancer. The stage of the cancer determines gall bladder cancer prognosis as well as the treatment options.
Tests used to stage gall bladder cancer are:
• Exploratory surgery: surgery is carried out to look inside the abdomen for signs of spread of the cancer. Generally, a laparoscopy is conducted, wherein; the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the abdomen and introduces a camera. The camera helps examine and assess the organs adjacent to the gall bladder.
• Tests to inspect the bile ducts: the doctor injects a dye in to the bile ducts. This is followed by an imaging test that records where the dye goes. This test demonstrates blockages within the bile ducts. Tests may include: magnetic resonance cholangiography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography.
Stages of Gall Bladder Cancer That Determine Gall Bladder Cancer Prognosis
Stage I: the cancer is restricted to the inner layer of the organ only.
Stage II: the cancer has invaded the outer layer of the gall bladder and may have spread to the adjacent organs, such as the liver, intestines, stomach or pancreas. This stage also includes less extensive tumors that may have extended to close by lymph nodes.
Stage III: the gall bladder cancer has attacked more than one of the neighboring organs, or may have invaded the portal vein or the hepatic artery.
Stage IV: this stage includes tumors of any size that have extended to distant areas of the body, via metastasis.
What Affects Gall Bladder Cancer Prognosis?
Certain factors have an impact on the prognosis and the treatment alternatives. They are:
• The stage of the gall bladder cancer; whether the malignancy has extended beyond the organ to surrounding structures
• Whether the tumor can be wholly removed by surgical interventions
• The type of cancer, i.e., how the tumor cells look under the microscope.
• Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or is a recurrence