Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Tests For Gallbladder Cancer

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Before getting into the details of the various factors, symptoms as well as treatment options that become a part of dealing with gallbladder cancer, it is important to understand the risks involved and the extent to which the condition can affect your life. The gallbladder is a pear shaped organ that lies in between the liver and the upper abdomen. The primary function of the gallbladder is to store bile that is used by the digestive system to digest any fatty content present in the stomach. Gallbladder cancer is known to be a relatively rare type of cancer and studies have shown that women tend to be more susceptible to contracting the condition than their male counterparts.

Tests Recommended

Diagnosis is one of the most important steps in effective treatment against the condition. While biopsy and ultrasound methods are common modes of detection when it comes to dealing with cancers, there are a number of other medical tests that are also widely used in detection pertaining specifically to this type of cancer. It is important to remember the fact that symptoms are not always noticeable when it comes to gallbladder cancer and so, sometime the detection of the condition is as much per chance in some cases as it is premeditated in others. While a general physical examination could lead you to detect the presence of the condition, an ultrasound exam will help him or her detect any abnormalities. This is done using the high energy sound waves that bounce of the internal tissues and walls help to create an image on a monitor in front of the physician. A liver function test is another very effective method of diagnosis and is primarily the use of a blood sample being taken from the body in order to check and measure the amounts of a certain substance being released into the blood by the liver.

A CT scan procedure makes the use of a number of detailed pictures taken of areas from within the body. To aid the process, a dye may be injected into the veins and to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly. An MRI scan is another useful method of detection that uses a magnet radio waves and a computer to help you see a set of images that represent the internal organs. In some cases, a dye may be injected into the gallbladder so the ducts that move the bile to the gallbladder from the liver and from the gallbladder to the small intestine in order to show it more prominently in the created images.

A laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that is primarily focused on looking at the organs inside the abdominal region to look for infection and disease. The procedure requires the use of a laparoscope – which is essentially a thin, lighted tube, which is inserted into the abdominal region through incisions that are made on the abdominal wall. Other tools may be used and inserted through other incisions as well to take small samples of tissue for better and more accurate diagnosis.


While the primary gallbladder cancer causes are still relatively unknown, recent research has shown that there are a number of factors involved in the development of the condition. For instance, most doctors analyzing the condition are of the opinion that chronic inflammation is one of the most common causes of the condition as this means that the cells in the gallbladder are exposed to the bile for longer periods than it should be. Race also plays a role in placing certain individuals at more risk of developing the condition than others with Native Americans seen to be more likely to develop the condition than Caucasian white individuals. The presence of gallstones is also known to significantly contribute to the development of gallbladder cancer while obese individuals are also known to be suffering from the condition.


Because of the fact that the condition is rather rare, not many people are able to detect the condition as early as they should as a result of not knowing what exact symptoms to look out for. Some of the more common symptoms to look out for include nausea and vomiting, bloating, fever, physical lumps in the abdominal region as well as pain just above the stomach. Another very important symptom to keep an eye out for includes the development of jaundice.


The various gallbladder cancer treatment methods are much the same as any other type of cancer treatment with the options revolving around the usual suspects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. While chemotherapy is usually performed after the surgery to remove the tumor, this is not a general rule. All in all, there are a number of drugs and medication that are pumped into the body in order to destroy the cancer cells. There are a number of factors that one needs to be careful of when dealing with cancer treatment as there is always the chance the body will react badly to the various treatments that it is being subjected to.