Gallbladder Cancer

Risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options for gallbladder cancer.

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located on the right side of the abdomen below the liver. It’s responsible for storing bile, an important digestive fluid produced in the liver.

Our surgeons perform hundreds of gallbladder surgeries every year. They specialize in less-invasive laparoscopic techniques to access the gallbladder, which lead to less pain and faster recovery.

Risk factors for gallbladder cancer

Anyone can develop gallbladder cancer, but factors that can increase the risk include:

  • Age: Risk increases as we get older.
  • Gender: More women develop the disease than men.
  • Past gallbladder issues: These can include gallstones or chronic gallbladder infection.
  • Weight: Obesity increases the risk of gallbladder cancer.

Symptoms of gallbladder cancer

Unfortunately, gallbladder cancer symptoms aren’t easy to spot and can be confused with symptoms of other, more common conditions. These symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Fever
  • Itchiness
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Upper right abdominal pain

Treatments for gallbladder cancer

Our digestive cancer team will develop a treatment plan based on the severity of the cancer, your medical condition, and preferences.

The doctor may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Endoscopic stenting: Advanced gallbladder cancer can cause blockages in the bile ducts. This minimally invasive procedure relieves those blockages by using small mesh tubes to stretch the bile ducts
  • Surgery to remove the gallbladder (known as a cholecystectomy)
  • Targeted radiation therapy

We participate in a number of clinical trials to test for new gallbladder cancer treatments. Talk with your doctor about whether you may qualify for a clinical trial.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


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