The incidence of gallbladder cancer is increased for females and Native Americans, and for patients that have gallbladder polyps.
It can be difficult to diagnose because it generally causes no symptoms in its early stages. Symptoms can mimic other biliary or pancreatic diseases such as:
- Pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen
- Pain that radiates from the abdomen to the upper right shoulder or back
- Abdominal tenderness
- Abdominal lump
- Liver functions tests
- Abdominal ultrasound
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC)
- Diagnostic surgery may be performed to determine if the cancer has spread.
It is a unique cancer that requires careful assessment and management at a center that is experienced in treating diseases of the biliary tract.
Options may include:
- Surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy)
- Surgery to remove the gallbladder and a portion of the liver and bile ducts that surround the gallbladder
- Endoscopic stent placement
- Radiation therapy or chemotherapy