Gall bladder cancer high in areas where people have gall stones
Mumbai: As there is a link between incidences of gall bladder cancer known as ‘India’s disease’ as it is more common here and gall stones, one of the best ways to beat this cancer would be to develop a strategy to detect stones early, say doctors at Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) here.
“Gall bladder cancer is associated with high death rates as there is no effective treatment,’’ said Prof Rajesh Dikshit of TMC’s Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, who last week published a study establishing a causal link between gall bladder cancer and gall stones. “It is hence best to look at ways to prevent it,’’ he said. The new study published in American Association for Cancer Research’s journal, ‘Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarker and Prevention’, looked at self-observations of 1,170 gall bladder cancer patients and genetic data from India and UK. It noted that ultrasound scans would be difficult to conduct in the field for identification of gallstones, especially in areas with poor health infrastructure. “A panel of genetic markers could be used to identify those likely to develop stones,’’ he said. Treatment for gall stones is simpler and cheaper, compared to cancer. Gall bladder cancer is common in India’s north and northeast regions. The Tata team also found that prevalence of gall stones is high in areas with high incidence of gall bladder cancer.
In the last seven years, TMC’s centre found that the use of contaminated mustard oil, and fish fried in contaminated and reheated mustard oil is associated with increased risk of gall bladder cancer. The team discovered that abnormality on chromosome 7 that carries genes ABCB4 and ABCB1 is responsible for increase in risk of gall bladder cancer. “The study’s findings are important as they can be used to plan preventive strategies for gall bladder cancer,”' said the doctor.
TMC plans to develop a trial to prevent gall bladder cancer based on its findings.