Gallbladder cancer happens when normal cells within the gallbladder turn into abnormal cells and grow out of control. The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that’s tucked under the liver. The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid that is made in the liver and helps the body break down fat. Most people with gallbladder cancer have or have had another gallbladder condition called “gallstones.” Gallstones are small stones that form inside the gallbladder.
Early on, gallbladder cancer may not cause any symptoms. In many cases, gallbladder cancer is found unexpectedly when:
• A doctor removes the gallbladder to treat symptoms that are thought to be caused by gallstones. (Gallstones can cause symptoms just like those of gallbladder cancer.)
• A doctor does imaging tests of the belly for one more reason. Imaging tests create pictures of the within body.
When gallbladder cancer causes symptoms, they’ll include:
• Belly pain, especially within the upper right side or upper middle part of the belly
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea or vomiting
• Weight loss
• Jaundice, which is when the skin and white a part of the attention turn yellow
All of these symptoms can also be caused by conditions that are not gallbladder cancer. But if you have these symptoms, tell your doctor.
Yes. To test for gallbladder cancer, your doctor will do an imaging test. Imaging tests can include an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI scan.
Cancer staging is a way in which doctors discover if a cancer has spread past the layer of tissue where it began, and, if so, how far.
The right treatment for you may depend on the stage of your gallbladder cancer and your other medical problems.
Gallbladder cancer is typically treated with one or more of the following:
• Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is the medical term for medicines that kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
• Radiation therapy – Radiation kills cancer cells.
Gallbladder cancer can sometimes be cured with treatment. This is most likely when the cancer is found at an early stage. But, often, gallbladder cancer isn’t found at an early stage. If your gallbladder cancer cannot be cured, your doctor can do other treatments to assist with your pain, jaundice, or other symptoms.
After treatment, your doctor will check you often to determine if the cancer comes back. Follow-up tests usually include imaging tests.
You should also watch for the symptoms listed above. Having those symptoms could mean your gallbladder cancer has returned. Tell your doctor if you have any symptoms.