Carcinoma of the gallbladder has a threefold higher incidence in females as compared to males. It usually affects elderly women. About 80 percent cases of the gallbladder carcinoma are found to have gallbladder stones, although most of the people who have gallstones may not develop the gallbladder cancer. Carcinoma of the biliary tract, arising from ductular cells of the biliary tree, is known as cholangiocarcinoma. Common extrahepatic sites of the cholangiocarcinoma are the gallbladder and the junction of right & left hepatic ducts.
Carcinoma of the gallbladder & biliary tract usually present with:
Carcinoma of the gallbladder may invade the adjacent tissues. Spread to the peritoneum may lead to ascites. There may be the formation of a fistula between the biliary system and the adjacent organs leading to various complications. Carcinoma of the gallbladder is usually detected incidentally after cholecystectomy operation, done for gallbladder stones.
Staging of carcinoma of the gallbladder is done as follows:
Procedures used in diagnosis and evaluation of the gallbladder carcinoma include X-rays, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), laparoscopy and biopsy.
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