How to Lower Your Risk of Bile Duct Cancer
There are over 200 kinds of cancer, but bile duct cancer is one of the rarest forms and hardest to detect in its early stages.
Bile is a digestive juice made by your liver. Your gallbladder stores the bile between your meals. Bile then is pushed by your gallbladder (when you consume food) through tubes called bile ducts. It is pushed even further down to your small intestines, where it helps break down fat and aids the liver to get rid of toxins and wastes. Several reasons can cause the block of the flow of the bile ducts, including:
- Infections and scar inflammation
- Gallstones caused by the increased pressure in the gallbladder
- Congenital disabilities (biliary atresia)
- Cancers such as Lynch II syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer) and Caroli’s syndrome (portal hypertension, hepatic fibrosis, and biliary tree cysts)
So how can you lower your risk of bile duct cancer? Here are some tips from the experts at Gastro MD in Tampa.
Eat a healthy diet
Choose a healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Decrease the amount of sugar and saturated fats in your diet because these can cause gallstones. Limiting processed foods and red meats and increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can lower your bile duct cancer risks. Moderate the alcohol consumption to lessen the risk of liver damage.
Quit smoking and avoid chemical exposure
Smoking can increase the risks of other types of biliary tract cancers. Inside the liver, cancers known as ICC or intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma can occur. Outside the liver, ECC or extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma can take place. Located where the bile duct and pancreatic duct meet, cancers such as GBC or gallbladder cancer and AVC or ampulla of Vater cancer can start once damage from smoking has taken its toll.
Exposure to hazardous chemicals such as nitrosamines, polychlorinated biphenyls, asbestos, radon, dioxins, and thorium dioxide (a radioactive substance used for specific X-rays) can also increase your risks of getting bile duct cancer.
Weight management and cholesterol
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of all cancers. Complications such as gallstones in your gallbladder caused by unhealthy food choices can trigger and increase your chances of getting not just bile duct cancer, but gallbladder cancer.
High cholesterol or hyperlipidemia is another risk factor in getting all kinds of cancer. These may not directly affect the bile ducts, but they increase your risks of getting the other diseases associated with cancer.
Explore vaccination options
Preventing infections such as hepatitis B and C through vaccinations can lower your risk of getting the virus and cirrhosis, a liver disease.
Besides a heightened awareness during Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month, we must all play an active role in raising awareness by informing others on how to lower the risks of these types of cancers and sharing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
To learn more about how you can decrease your risk for bile duct cancer, contact Gastro-MD, with two convenient locations, serving Orlando and Tampa. We strive to build a community of cutting-edge clinical gastroenterology practices and set the standards in digestive health care.