Donate to Gallbladder Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education

The gallbladder is a small digestive organ located just beneath the liver that stores bile. Bile breaks down the fat content of the food in the stomach to aid the digestive process. Gallbladder cancer occurs when abnormal growths occur in the gallbladder, forming tumors which may or may not be cancerous.  Even if they are benign, however, they are still capable of causing complications for the patient. When you contribute to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, your donation will go toward helping physicians on staff learn more about the complications of tumors in the gallbladder.

There are several types of gallbladder cancer, but adenocarcinoma, which develops in the cells of the glands, is by far the most common, making up 90% of all cases. Papillary adenocarcinoma, a specific type of adenocarcinoma, is less likely than other cancers to spread to other parts of the body. Other types of gallbladder cancer include sarcoma, small cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.  Regardless of the type of gallbladder cancer, when you donate to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will provide scientists the proper funding to learn more about and find ways to effectively treat this disease.

The symptoms of gallbladder cancer include pain in the upper right abdomen, a sense of fullness even if the patient only eats a small amount, nausea, vomiting, lumps in the abdomen, unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite, yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes (jaundice or scleral icterus), fever, and severe itching. These symptoms are also associated with other conditions such as gallstones and gallbladder infection; this can make gallbladder cancer difficult to detect at times.  Your financial gift to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help in the process of detecting gallbladder cancer early enough in patients to provide the most effective treatment possible.

The exact causes of gallbladder cancer are not currently known. With your generous donation, Northwestern Medicine will continue to research the causes of various cancers and improve our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat them. While the cause is unknown, there are several risk factors associated with gallbladder cancer, which may include:

  • Gallstones— Gallstones are the most common risk factor; in fact, 75% of the patients who have gallbladder cancer also experience gallstones and an inflamed gallbladder.  Larger gallstones also increase a patient’s risk.
  • Porcelain gallbladder— This condition occurs when calcium hardens the walls of the gallbladder.
  • Age— Gallbladder cancer is more common in people over age 65.
  • Contact with carcinogens (substances that cause cancer)— Toxins are filtered through the liver and excreted into bile, which flows through the gallbladder.
  • Obesity— Obesity increases the risk of gallstones, and research has shown a link between being obese and developing gallbladder cancer.
  • Family history— Genetics may play a role, but most people with gallbladder cancer have no family history.

Your generous donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will allow physicians on staff to continue to closely monitor patients with these risk factors, in order to detect gallbladder cancer quickly and treat it early enough to provide the best possible outcome.

Gallbladder Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Treatment options for gallbladder cancer vary, depending on a person’s specific case, and may include surgical removal of tumors, radiation therapy to kill cancerous cells and shrink tumors, and chemotherapy, which involves killing cancer cells with an injection of medication. When you make a gift to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will play an integral role in advancing the efforts of Northwestern Medicine’s team of specialized physicians, advanced practice nurses, social workers and dietitians, who are dedicated to providing the very best, most personalized care to every patient with gallbladder cancer.

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