, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 1145-1151

Carcinoma of the Gallbladder

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Since the first description of the carcinoma of the gallbladder, about two centuries ago, this disease has evaded all attempts at early detection and a potential cure. There are only a few studies involving the Indian population, which has a high incidence of gallbladder cancer. Indians are ethnically and culturally different from their Western counterparts, for whom the incidence of this disease is comparatively low. The present study was conducted prospectively on 99 consecutive cases of carcinoma of the gallbladder of 736 patients with biliary diseases admitted to one surgical unit at the University Hospital. The staging, histological type, and grade were correlated with the clinical outcome. Abdominal pain (82.8%) and abdominal mass (73.7%) were the main presenting features. The diagnosis was obtained by ultrasonography (USG) in 93 of 99 cases and confirmed by fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) in 70 patients. Ultrasonography, however, was found to be inadequate for accurate staging of the disease. Based on the TNM classification, 3 (3.0%), 12 (12.1%), 14 (14.1%), 12 (12.1%), and 58 (58.6%) patients had stage 0, I, II, III, and IV disease, with a corresponding mean survival of 28.3, 13.8, 7.5, 5.2, and 3.7 months, respectively. Carcinoma of the gallbladder is difficult to diagnose early due to its vague symptomatology. A high index of suspicion and health education seem to be the only answers available for early detection and improvement of survival.