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Gallbladder Cancer
Symptoms and Treatment

Home / Patient Information / Gallbladder Cancer Treatment

What are Gallstones?

Gallbladder cancer is a type of cancer that affects the gallbladder, a small organ located just below the liver. The gallbladder’s main function is to store and concentrate bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver.

The most common type of gallbladder cancer is adenocarcinoma, which starts in the glandular cells lining the inner surface of the gallbladder. Other types include squamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and sarcoma.

Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer

Many people with gallbladder cancer do not experience any symptoms in the early stages, making it difficult to detect. However, as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, symptoms may start to appear. These can include:

What causes Gallbladder Cancer?

The exact cause of gallbladder cancer is not fully understood. However, several risk factors may increase a person’s chances of developing this type of cancer.

What are the risk factors of Gallbladder Cancer?

Diagnosis of Gallbladder Cancer

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to see a doctor for further evaluation. Your doctor may perform several tests to diagnose gallbladder cancer, such as imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. They may also take a sample of tissue from your gallbladder for biopsy.

How is Gallbladder Cancer treated?

Treatment options for gallbladder cancer depend on the stage and location of the cancer, as well as your overall health. Surgery is the most common treatment for gallbladder cancer and may involve removing part or all of the gallbladder, surrounding tissues, and nearby lymph nodes.

A cholecystectomy (removal of Gallbladder) is typically performed by a general surgeon experienced in gallbladder surgeries. This procedure is also usually done laparoscopically. Additionally, this procedure is typically done to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.

Surgery of the Gallbladder may also be accompanied by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These treatments may be used before or after surgery, or in combination with each other.

At KYM Surgery, our gallbladder surgeon can perform laparoscopic (keyhole) gallbladder surgery:


Laparotomy (open surgery)

An incision is made on the abdomen to access the gallbladder.


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (keyhole surgery)

Surgical instruments with a light attached to a camera are inserted into the body through small abdominal incisions to access the gallbladder.

Between the two, surgeons often prefer keyhole surgery. This is because it is less invasive and has minimal downtime and discomfort, as well as reduced risk of complications.

It is also important to take care of your overall health during and after treatment for gallbladder cancer. Eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, and managing any side effects from treatment can help you feel better and improve your overall well-being.

Stages of Gallbladder Cancer

Gallbladder cancer is staged based on how far the cancer has spread. The stages are as follows:

Prevention of Gallbladder Cancer

Unfortunately, there is no sure way to prevent gallbladder cancer. However, some lifestyle changes may help reduce your risk, such as:

  • maintaining a healthy weight,
  • eat more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limit red meat, processed foods and sugary drinks
  • limiting alcohol consumption, and
  • avoiding smoking.

In addition, some studies have shown that long-term use of birth control pills may increase the risk of gallbladder cancer. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor if you are considering using birth control pills.

In Conclusion

Gallbladder cancer is a rare but serious disease that can be difficult to detect in its early stages. Knowing the symptoms and risk factors, as well as seeking medical attention if you experience any concerning symptoms, can help with early detection and treatment. By taking care of your overall health and making lifestyle changes, you may also be able to reduce your risk of developing gallbladder cancer. Remember, it is always important to discuss any concerns or questions with your doctor for personalised recommendations and treatment options.  

So, be mindful of your health and seek medical advice if needed. Stay healthy and stay informed!

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Here at KYM Surgery, we believe in providing holistic & comprehensive medical care for all patients.

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Here at KYM Surgery, we believe in providing holistic & comprehensive medical care for all patients.