Gallbladder Cancer

The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ that lies beneath the liver and stores bile, a fluid that is involved in the digestive process. Gallbladder cancer is a relatively rare disease in which cells begin to grow in the gallbladder in an unregulated manner.

Cancer occurs when cells in the body (in this case gallbladder cells) divide without control or order. The uncontrolled growth of these cells may result in a tumor within the gallbladder that often invades surrounding tissue.

Risk Factors for Gallbladder Cancer

The following are the most common risk factors for gallbladder cancer:

  • History of gallstones or chronic inflammation of the gallbladder
  • Being a female
  • Being of Native American or Hispanic descent
  • History of Gallbladder polyps
  • Anatomic abnormalities of the gallbladder and ducts, including choledochal cysts

Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer

Often, gallbladder cancer does not cause symptoms during early stages. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms associated with biliary obstruction often develop, including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain in the upper back
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the “whites” of the eyes, the skin, under the tongue)

Other symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Liver and spleen enlargement
  • Increased abdominal girth

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek proper evaluation and treatment from a healthcare expert experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of gallbladder cancer.

Experience You Can Trust!

Hoag-USC Surgical Center for Digestive Diseases continues to lead the way in complex gastrointestinal care, providing access to a highly specialized surgical team that works collaboratively with Hoag-affiliated GI and medical oncology specialists. Hoag’s committed to accurate diagnosis, combined with progressive therapeutic options enables Hoag patients to achieve some of the highest clinical outcomes in the nation.

To schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, or a second-opinion consultation with a Hoag gastrointestinal expert, visit Meet the Team, or call us at: 888-566-9712.