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Cancer Prevention Awareness Month

February is Cancer Prevention Awareness Month. Cancer prevention is critical to lower the chance of getting cancer. In addition to the physical problems and emotional distress caused by cancer, the high costs of care are also a burden to patients, their families, and to the public. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer is lowered. Hopefully, this will reduce the burden of cancer and lower the number of deaths caused by cancer.

Risk Factors for Cancer: Cancer risk factors include exposure to chemicals or other substances, as well as certain behaviors. They also include things people cannot control, like age and family history. A family history of certain cancers can be a sign of possible inherited cancer syndrome. To learn more, click HERE.

The Genetics of Cancer: Cancer is a genetic disease - meaning, cancer is caused by certain changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. Genetic changes that promote cancer can be inherited from our parents if the changes are present in germ cells, which are the reproductive cells of the body (eggs and sperm). Such changes, called germline changes, are found in every cell of the offspring. To learn more, click HERE.

The statistics are alarming:

  • In 2018, an estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States and over 600,000 people died from the disease.

  • Cancer mortality is higher among men than women.

  • Approximately 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes.

  • In 2017, over 15,000 children and adolescents ages 0-19 were diagnosed with cancer and over 1,700 died of the disease.

For more information and statistics, click HERE.
(Source: National Cancer Institute)


Gallbladder / Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month

Gallbladder Cancer

Gallbladder cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that lies just under the liver in the upper abdomen. The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid made by the liver to digest fat.

Risk factors for Gallbladder Cancer: Being female and Native American can increase the risk of developing gallbladder cancer. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk.

Detection: Gallbladder cancer is difficult to detect and diagnose for the following reasons:

  • There are no symptoms in the early stages of gallbladder cancer.

  • The symptoms of gallbladder cancer, when present, are like the symptoms of many other illnesses.

  • The gallbladder is hidden under the liver.

Gallbladder cancer is sometimes found when the gallbladder is removed or other reasons. Patients with gallstones rarely develop gallbladder cancer.

For more information about Gallbladder cancer, click HERE.
(Source: American Cancer Society)

Bile Duct Cancer

Bile duct cancer is a rare cancer in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the bile ducts which are a network of tubes connecting the liver, gallbladder, and small intestine. This network begins in the liver where many small ducts collect bile (a fluid made by the liver to break down fats during digestion). Bile duct cancer is also known as cholangiocarcinoma.

Types of Bile Duct cancers by location

Cancer can start in any part of the bile duct system. Based on where the cancers are, they are grouped into 3 types:

  • Intrahepatic bile duct cancers

  • Perihilar bile duct cancer

  • Distal bile duct cancer

Bile duct cancers can also be divided into types based on how the cancer cells look under the microscope.

Nearly all bile duct cancers or cholangiocarcinomas are adenocarcinomas, which are cancers that start in glandular cells. Bile duct adenocarcinomas start in the mucous gland cells that line the inside of the ducts.

Other types of bile duct cancers are much less common. These include sarcomas, lymphomas, and small cell cancers.

For more information about Bile Duct cancer, click HERE.
(Source: American Cancer Society)

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