‘Dragging feeling’ on one side could signal a ‘lesser known’ cancer

‘Dragging feeling’ on one side could signal a ‘lesser known’ cancer

Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for

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With any medical condition, the sooner you catch the symptoms the sooner you can seek treatment. And with diseases such as cancer this could be life saving. With this in mind Doctor Helen Croker, from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), spoke with Express.co.uk about a “lesser known” cancer to be wary of.

Dr Croker, who is head of research interpretation at the WCRF, explained: “Gallbladder cancer is one of the lesser known cancers – in 2019, there were approximately 1,140 cases in the UK out of the total 387,820 cases of all cancers.

“The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ connected to the liver which stores bile (a liquid that helps your body digest fats).”

One symptom of gallbladder cancer is an aching or “dragging feeling” on the right side of your tummy.

This occurs if the disease has started to affect digestion.

In this case it could also lead to:

  • Feeling or being sick
  • Sharp pain in your tummy
  • A very swollen tummy that is not related to when you eat.

The NHS also lists symptoms of gallbladder cancer not related to digestion as:

  • Skin or the whites of your eyes turning yellow (jaundice), you may also have itchy skin, darker pee and paler poo than usual
  • Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  • A high temperature, or you feel hot or shivery
  • A lump in your tummy.

If you notice any of these symptoms the NHS advises seeing a GP.

What increases the risk of this cancer?

Dr Croker said that your weight could increase your risk of gallbladder cancer.

“There’s strong evidence from our research that being overweight or living with obesity increases your risk of developing gallbladder cancer, as well as having gallstones,” she said.

“Taking steps to maintain a healthy weight can help to reduce the risk of developing gallbladder cancer.

“When thinking about cancer more generally, we know that around 40 percent of all cancer cases could be prevented – that’s around 147,000 cases a year in the UK.

“To reduce your risk of developing cancer, we recommend maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy diet, keeping active, not smoking and being safe in the sun. “

As well as losing weight if necessary, the NHS recommends quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol to lower your risk of gallbladder cancer.

However, there are certain factors beyond your control that can raise your chances of the disease.

These include if you:

  • Are over the age of 75, it’s most common in people over 85
  • Are a woman
  • Have certain medical conditions, such as gallstones, growths (polyps) in your gallbladder, porcelain gallbladder, abnormal bile ducts, long-term swelling of the gallbladder or bile ducts, or diabetes
  • Have a brother, sister or parent who had gallbladder cancer
  • Have Latin American or Asian heritage.

If you are concerned you have gallbladder cancer, a GP might feel your tummy during an appointment.

They might also carry out blood tests.

If they have concerns they will refer you to a specialist for more tests.

To learn more about your daily habits and how you could reduce your chances of developing cancer, you can take the WCRF cancer health check test.

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