Anything that increases your chance of developing a disease like cancer is a risk factor. Some risk factors can be prevented or controlled, like smoking, whereas others cannot be changed, like age.
However, risk factors do not guarantee that a person will get the disease. For instance, many people who develop gallbladder cancer may have few or no known risk factors.
Nevertheless, a person should be aware of the risk factors and try to prevent them as much as possible to lower the chances of developing a disease. Dr Soumen Das, the best gallbladder cancer doctor in Kolkata, lists and explains the common risk factors of gallbladder cancer in the following section.
Common Risk Factors of Gallbladder Cancer
- Gallstones – Gallstones is the most common risk factor. Up to 4 out of 5 people with gallbladder cancer also have gallstones when they’re diagnosed. These are stone-like collections of cholesterol and other substances that develop in the gallbladder and lead to chronic inflammation. However, most people who have gallstones do not develop gallbladder cancer.
- Gallbladder polyps – A gallbladder polyp is a bulge that usually forms in the inner gallbladder wall due to cholesterol deposits. Other polyps may be small tumours (cancerous or non-cancerous) or may be caused by inflammation. Polyps that are larger than one centimetre are more likely to be cancerous. In such a case, Dr Soumen Das recommends removing the gallbladder.
- Female gender – Compared to men, the chance of developing gallbladder cancer is higher in women. It is one of the three leading cancers among women in India. The comparatively high incidence of gallbladder cancer in women may be because of the commonality of gallstones and gallbladder inflammation (two important risk factors).
- Older age – People in their mid-sixties have a higher chance of developing gallbladder cancer. The average age of people when they are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer is 72.
- Typhoid – People with chronic typhoid and those who are typhoid carriers are more likely to get gallbladder cancer than those who are uninfected. This is because the infection can cause gallbladder inflammation, one of the important risk factors of gallbladder cancer. Typhoid is prevalent in India.
- Obesity – Obesity can increase the risk of developing many cancers, including gallbladder cancer. According to Dr Soumen Das, the best gallbladder cancer surgeon in Kolkata, people who are obese are more likely to develop gallstones which increase the risk of gallbladder cancer.
- Other possible risk factors – Studies have found that the following factors might increase the risk of gallbladder cancer; however, the links are not clear. The factors include:
- Exposure to chemicals found in the rubber and textile industries
- Exposure to nitrosamines
Gallbladder cancer treatment in Kolkata has a better outcome for early-stage gallbladder cancer. Therefore, consult Dr Soumen Das if you have the above risk factors and experience symptoms like sudden weight loss, loss of appetite, jaundice, fever, and sharp abdominal pain. Going for periodic check-up increases the chance of gallbladder cancer diagnosis in its early stage.