What is the difference between resectable and unresectable gallbladder cancer?


By: Dr. Thomas Incledon

What is the difference between resectable and unresectable gallbladder cancer?

Resectable gallbladder cancer can be removed from the body with a surgical procedure. In order to determine if surgery can be performed, a surgeon or surgical oncologist will perform scans and tests to be sure the cancer has not yet spread into other organs. Once localization of the cancer is confirmed, surgery can be performed. Often, an oncologist will recommend following the surgery with a chemotherapy or radiation course to prevent any lingering cancer cells in the blood from causing the cancer to recur.

Unresectable gallbladder cancer cannot be removed with surgery. This diagnosis means the cancer cells have now spread to other organs or blood. In this case, the treatment strategy may be chemotherapy, diet modifications, or other natural substances that can work together to fight cancer cells.

Regardless of which type of gallbladder cancer you are diagnosed with, you should ask two key questions of your cancer treatment team to ensure you will receive the best care and outcomes possible.

First, you should ask: What will you do for me and the cancer in my body? What you are listening for in an answer are details on how you will be treated as an individual. If the doctor says, “This is how we treat gallbladder cancer in everyone…,” that cancer treatment center is probably not a good option. “The simplest way I can explain it is, you do not check your friend’s car’s oil and then put oil in your car based on his car’s levels,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, founder and CEO of Causenta. “You should not choose a cancer treatment based on what worked for someone else. Every person’s body is different and until you know the specifics of the cancer in your body, you cannot know what type of treatment strategies will work the best.”

The second question is: When the first strategy (or two) doesn’t work, what will you do? In almost every case, the first several strategies for fighting cancer do not work. “You need to be at a cancer treatment center where strategies will be changed based on your needs and your body’s reactions to treatment,” says Incledon. He advises that there should be regular tests for blood levels, scans to determine if the cancer is growing or shrinking, etc. The information collected from those tests should then be used to inform additional tactics used for treatment or the decision to continue with the current path if it is showing results. After you ask this question, you want your oncology team to say, “We are going to make a change in treatment if we do not see improvement. We will always tell you what the new strategy will be and why we are choosing it.” Knowing that you are receiving individualized care can help set your mind at ease, so you can concentrate on beating gallbladder cancer.

If you are interested in learning more about gallbladder cancer and personalized treatment options at Causenta, schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation today.


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