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Gallbladder Cancer

What is Gallbladder Cancer?

Gallbladder cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the gallbladder.

Gallbladder cancer very rare. Patients with gallstones rarely develop gallbladder cancer.

What is the Gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that lies just under the liver in the upper abdomen. The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile. Bile is a fluid made by the liver to digest fat. When food is being broken down in the stomach and intestines, bile is released from the gallbladder through a tube called the common bile duct, which connects the gallbladder and liver to the first part of the small intestine.

The wall of the gallbladder has 3 main layers of tissue.

Mucosal (innermost) layer.
Muscularis (middle, muscle) layer.
Serosal (outer) layer.

Between these layers is supporting connective tissue. Primary gallbladder cancer starts in the innermost layer and spreads through the outer layers as it grows.

Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer

The most common signs of gallbladder cancer are:

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • pain above the stomach
  • fever
  • lumps in the abdomen

How is Gallbladder Cancer Detected?

Gallbladder cancer is difficult to detect and diagnose early. However, an Ultrasound, liver function tests, CEA assay, CAT scan, and an MRI may be used to detect gallbladder cancer.

Gallbladder cancer is difficult to detect and diagnose because there aren't any noticeable signs or symptoms in the early stages and symptoms are similar to the symptoms of many other illnesses.

Can Gallbladder Cancer be Cured?

Gallbladder cancer can be cured only if it is found before it has spread, when it can be removed by surgery. If the cancer has spread, treatments are aimed to control the symptoms and complications.


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