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Gallbladder Cancer

What you need to know gallbladder cancer what your options are, and what you can expect from your surgeon.

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© Bobbie Jean Peachey

Learning Your Gallbladder is Cancerous
Cancer is a scary word and we normally do not choose to think about it, talk about it, or worry about it. Most people don't know much about cancer other than the words cancer and malignant. My sister was having persistent and extreme abdominal pain and was taken to the emergency room. Within a couple of hours she was in surgery having a gallbladder operation.

The next day the surgeon explained that the gallbladder was cancerous but that he believed he got it all.

Temporary Deafness
The shock of hearing the cancer word, and then the relief of hearing, "I think I got it all", causes temporary total deafness and immediately blocks any further instructions from the surgeon who is being very low key talking about cancer because he doesn't want you to go into a panic melt down.

The surgeon will probably explain that the adenocarcinoma cancer found in your gallbladder is very invasive and can quickly spread to other body parts that are near or touching the gallbladder. The surgeon goes on to explain what type of tests you will need to ensure the cancer did not spread outside of the gallbladder. There is a very good possibility that you will not absorb ANY of this information. You are still in shock after hearing the words, "Cancer" and "I think I GOT IT ALL".

What You Need To Know RIGHT NOW
The gallbladder touches the liver and the cancer cell can very quickly spread to the liver and lymph nodes near the gallbladder. Gallbladder cancer is very serious, but the quicker you do something about it the better your odds are of recovery.

It is imperative that you quickly make any appointments your surgeon suggests in order to ensure that the liver and lymph glands do not have cancer. Make and keep any tests the surgeon or doctor suggests. Start chemo and radiation therapy without delay if the doctor or surgeon recommends this type of treatment.

Get the Information You Need

Always take someone with you who will help you listen and who will take notes of tests and suggestions that the surgeon is suggesting or recommending.
If you can't take someone with you, then take a recorder and record every word and recommendation the doctor discusses with you.
If you don't know exactly what body parts gallbladder cancer can quickly spread to, ask the doctor or surgeon if he has a diagram that will explain what body parts are closest to the gallbladder.
Ask for clarification if you don't understand some of the words he uses or if you don't understand what he is saying.
Ask for written suggestions and recommendations from the surgeon about the tests and follow up doctors.

It Is Your Responsibility

  • It is your responsibility to schedule testing as quickly as possible.
  • It is your responsibility to schedule chemo and/or radiation as quickly as possible.
  • It is your responsibility to schedule your follow-up appointments.
  • Remember, the quicker you act, the better your chances are.

    Cancer Resources:
    Gallbladder Cancer
    The causes, symptoms, risks, tests, diagnosis, treatments, drugs, and support.
    Bladder Cancer
    Use the left hand side of the page to view all the sections about bladder cancer, from topic overview, health tools, cause, symptoms, through exams and tests, medications, surgery, and more.
    Provides free professional support services to anyone affected by cancer, counseling, support groups, education workshops, publications, community programs, and information on how to get and where to find financial help.
    National Cancer Institute
    A diagram that shows where the gallbladder is located.
    Cancer Treatment Centers of America
    Learn more about the disease, what lies ahead and your treatment options.

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