Risk Factors for Gallbladder Cancer

A risk factor is something about you that increases your chance of getting a disease or having a certain health condition. Some risk factors for gallbladder cancer you cannot change, but some you can. Changing the risk factors that you have control over will help you live a longer, healthier life.

Risk factors do not mean that you will get the disease. Many people who have these risk factors do not develop the disease and many who develop the disease did not have any of these risk factors.

The risk factors for gallbladder cancer include:

  • Gallstones – People who have gallstones are at a slightly greater risk of developing gallbladder cancer. Around 75 percent of people with gallbladder cancer have a history of gallstones, but the vast majority of people with gallstones never develop gallbladder cancer.
  • Gallbladder polyps – Gallbladder polyps larger than one centimeter may be precursors to gallbladder cancer.
  • Porcelain gallbladder – People with a condition called porcelain gallbladder, where the gallbladder is covered with calcium deposits, are at a greater risk of developing gallbladder cancer.
  • Gender – Gallbladder cancer is twice as common in women than in men.
  • Obesity – People who are obese are more likely to develop gallbladder cancer than people of normal weight.
  • Age – Gallbladder cancer is more common in people age 65 and older.
  • Ethnicity – Hispanics and Native Americans, particularly in the American Southwest, are at greater risk of developing gallbladder cancer than members of other ethnic groups.
  • Family history – Gallbladder cancer does run in some families. People with a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, diagnosed with this disease are more likely to get it themselves.

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