Gallbladder Cancer

This is a rare but a very serious cancer, which is more common in women. The incidence is about 3 cases per 100,000 population per year.

Risk factors

  • Increasing age
  • Obesity
  • Female gender
  • Gallstones
  • Anomalous pancreatico-biliary junction

Symptoms

  • Pain in the right side of the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice

Diagnosis

Most gallbladder cancers are advanced at the time of diagnosis.

  • Clinical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • PET scan is sometimes indicated

Treatment

Treatment is usually provided by a team of health professionals, which may include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiotherapists, gastroenterologists and a range of allied health personnel (multidisciplinary team). Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery – may be appropriate in less advanced cases and may require removal of the gallbladder, part of the liver and the surrounding lymph nodes. Some early gallbladder cancers are diagnosed after laparoscopic cholecystectomy and pathological examination of the gallbladder.
  • Chemotherapy – may be effective in some patients.
  • Radiotherapy – is occasionally indicated.
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