Gallbladder cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer that originates from within the gallbladder.


It is often difficult to diagnose in its early stages due to the lack of specific symptoms. It is frequently identified at more advanced stages when it has already spread to other organs.


Other common scenarios include an incidental diagnosis when patients undergo imaging for an unrelated reason or an incidental diagnosis of unsuspected cancer after a patient has had gallbladder surgery for another reason (e.g. gallstones).


Imaging Tests

These include ultrasound, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans, which help visualize the gallbladder and surrounding structures to identify any abnormalities.

Blood Tests

Certain blood markers can be indicative of the presence of gallbladder cancer. These tests may include liver function tests and tumour marker tests such as CA 19-9.


Biopsy of the gallbladder itself is usually not done to avoid making a hole in the gallbladder but a biopsy of surrounding organs (e.g. liver) can be important if spread of cancer is suspected.



The treatment approach for gallbladder cancer depends on the stage of cancer, the overall health of the patient, and the specific characteristics of the tumour.

Treatment options may include:


Surgical removal of the gallbladder, known as cholecystectomy, is the primary treatment for early-stage gallbladder cancer. In some cases, removal of nearby lymph nodes and a portion of the liver may also be necessary. This can often be achieved laparoscopically or robotically.


This treatment involves the use of powerful medications to destroy cancer cells. It can be used before or after surgery, or in cases where the cancer has spread beyond the gallbladder.

Palliative Care

In cases where the cancer is advanced and cannot be completely removed, palliative care may be provided to help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for the patient.

Clinical Trials

Participation in clinical trials may be an option for some patients, offering access to new treatments and therapies that are still being researched and developed.

Early detection and prompt treatment are crucial for improving the prognosis and outcomes for individuals with gallbladder cancer. Regular check-ups and discussions with healthcare providers are essential for individuals at high risk or with a family history of gallbladder cancer.

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