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Gallbladder cancer

Gallbladder cancer
Classification & external resources
ICD-10 C23.-C24.
ICD-9 156
MeSH D005706

Gallbladder cancer is a relatively uncommon cancer. If it is diagnosed early enough, it can be cured by removing the gallbladder. Most often it is found after symptoms such as abdominal pain and jaundice occur, and it has spread to other organs such as the liver.

It is a rare cancer that is still being studied and thought to be related to gallstones building up, which also can lead to calcification of the gallbladder, a condition known as Porcelain gallbladder. Porcelain gallbladder is also rare. Some studies indicate that people with porcelain gallbladder have a high risk of developing gallbladder cancer, but other studies question this. The outlook is poor for recovery if the cancer is found after symptoms have started to occur.


Risk factors

  • Gender: More women than men are affected by gallbladder cancer, mostly commonly between the ages of 50 and 60.
  • Obesity increases the risk for gallbladder cancer. It is most common in indigenous peoples of the Americas.
  • Primary carcinoma is linked to chronic cholecystitis and cholelithiasis.
  • Alcohol: "…alcohol drinking is a risk factor of gallbladder cancer…"[1] [2]

Signs and Symptoms

Early symptoms mimic gallbladder inflammation and gallstones, which must be excluded as the cause. Later, the symptoms may be that of biliary obstruction.

Disease Course

Most tumors are adenocarcinomas, with a small percent being squamous cell carcinomas. The cancer commonly spreads to the liver, pancreas, stomach,and duodenum.


  Early diagnosis is not generally possible. People at high risk, such as women or Native Americans with frequent gallstones, are evaluated closely. Endoscopic ultrasound, transabdominal ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, and MR cholangiopancreatography can be used to diagnose.


The most common and most effective treatment is surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) with lymph node dissection. However, with gallbladder cancer's extremely poor prognosis, most will die by one year following the surgery. If surgery is not possible, endoscopic stenting of the biliary tree can reduce jaundice. Chemotherapy and radiation may also be used with surgery.


  1. ^ Ji, J; Hemminki K (2005 Sep). "Variation in the risk for liver and gallbladder cancers in socioeconomic and occupational groups in Sweden with etiological implications". Int Arch Occup Environ Health 78 (8): 641-9. PMID 16001211. Retrieved on 28 May 2007.
  2. ^ Ji J, Couto E, Hemminki K. Incidence differences for gallbladder cancer between occupational groups suggest an etiological role for alcohol Int J Cancer 2005 Sep 1;116(3):492-3.
  • Lewis, S.M., Heitkemper, M.M., & Dirksen, S.R. Medical-Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems, 6th ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 2004.
  • McCance,K., & Huether, S. Pathophysiology: The Biologic Basis for Disease in Adults & Children, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 2002.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gallbladder_cancer". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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