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Gall Bladder Cancer

Gall bladder cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the gallbladder.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Steady pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Weakness
  • Itchiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice and vomiting due to obstruction
  • Lumps in the abdomen
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Risk Factors:

  • Female gender
  • Gallstones
  • Gallbladder polyps
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Smoking
  • Family history

Common Types:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Squamous cell cancer of the gallbladder
  • Adenosquamous cancer of the gallbladder
  • Small cell cancer of the gallbladder
  • Sarcoma of the gallbladder
  • Neuroendocrine tumour of the gallbladder
  • Lymphoma and melanoma of the gallbladder


  • Detailed Patient History
  • Physical Exam
  • Chest and Abdomen X-Ray
  • Ultrasonography
  • Biopsy
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Percutaneous cholangiography
  • Laparoscopy
  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan


  • Stage I: A tumor is only in the gallbladder and has not spread
  • Stage II: A tumor has extended to the perimuscular connective tissue but has not spread elsewhere
  • Stage IIIA: A tumor has spread beyond the gallbladder but not to nearby arteries or veins. It has not spread to any lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
  • Stage IIIB: A tumor of any size has spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to nearby arteries and/or veins or to other parts of the body.
  • Stage IVA: A tumor has spread to nearby arteries, veins, and/or nearby lymph nodes, but it has not spread to other parts of the body.
  • Stage IVB: Describes any tumor that has spread to other parts of the body or any tumor that has distant lymph node spread, even if it has not spread to distant organs.


  • Exercise
  • Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats
  • Take supplements
  • Avoid high-fat foods like whole-milk dairy products, processed foods, sugary items, fried foods and red meats
  • Consider breastfeeding if you have had a child
  • Add omega-3s to your diet by either taking a supplement or eating fish that are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tuna and trout
  • Try some raw vegetable and fruit juice if you have experienced gallbladder pain


  • Surgery
    Surgery is the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue during an operation.

    • Cholecystectomy involves the removal of the gallbladder.
    • An extended cholecystectomy is the removal of the gallbladder, one inch or more of liver tissue located next to the gallbladder, and all of the lymph nodes in the region.
    • Radical gallbladder resection involves the removal of the gallbladder, a wedge-shaped section of the liver near the gallbladder, the common bile duct, part or all of the ligaments between the liver and intestines, and the lymph nodes around the pancreas and nearby blood vessels

    Palliative surgery may sometimes help relieve symptoms caused by gallbladder cancer, even if the tumor cannot be removed.

  • Radiation Therapy
    Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells. The most common type of radiation treatment for gallbladder cancer is called external-beam radiation therapy, which is radiation therapy given from a machine outside the body. A radiation therapy regimen usually consists of a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time.
  • Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. A chemotherapy regimen (schedule) usually consists of a specific number of cycles given over a set period of time. A patient may receive one drug at a time or combinations of different drugs at the same time.

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