Gallbladder Cancer

When cancer cells form in the tissues (group of cells) of the gallbladder, its called as a Gallbladder cancer. It is one of the most virulent cancers known to mankind.
Gallbladder is a sac like organ that sits below your liver.Bile is secreted by liver and transferred to gall bladder for temporary storage. About 10 times concentration of bile is achieved in the gallbladder. The neck of gallbladder has a connection with your liver through common bile duct and sends down its secretions through it. The gallbladder wall has 3 layers-outer, middle and inner layer. Gallbladder cancer arises in the inner layer.

Gall bladder cancer

Risk Factors of Gallbladder Cancer

The exact cause of gallbladder cancer is not known yet. But there are some risk factors associated with this disease.

Polyps in gallbladder

Gallbladder polyp can lead to cancer in most of the cases.

  • Race

    Some ethnic population like South Americans are more prone to gall bladder cancer. In fact even North Indians are at a higher risk of developing Gall bladder cancer!

  • Gallstones

    Having a gallbladder stone can increase the risk for developing gallbladder cancer.

  • Chemical ingestion

    Chemical concentration in the food is taken to the liver then gets concentrated in the gallbladder, and may cause gallbladder cancer.

Symptoms of Gallbladder cancer

The following symptoms may be caused by gallbladder cancer. Please consult a doctor if you experience some of them.

  • Pain in the upper part of the stomach.
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Fever
  • Lumps in the abdomen
  • Stomach feeling sick (nausea)
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating

Diagnosing Gallbladder Cancer

Early diagnosis and treatment is a key for good prognosis for any condition. This applies for Gallbladder cancer too. But the symptoms in Gallbladder cancer in its early stage are similar to many other illneses and non-specific. There are some tests which are very helpful in diagnosing Gallbladder cancer.

History and Physical Examination

Your doctor might need a complete history of the present and past illnesses along with the details of the treatment taken for them. He will check for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual.

Liver Function Test

Gallbladder cancer might affect your liver easily. It can be found out sometimes by this test. Blood sample from the suspected individual is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances released  by the liver into the blood. A higher value of them gives a clue that their liver function is affected.

Ultrasound Scan

When your doctor have a suspicion of the thickened gallbladder wall, a basic ultrasound abdomen might give him a hand. Its a simple, inexpensive yet helpful tool.

CT Scan

It is little expensive compared to other tests. But its a very useful tool to know the extent of infiltration of the gallbladder cancer.

CEA / CA-19-9 Assay

These are antigens released into the bloodstream from both cancer cells and normal cells. Blood sample is taken from the patient and checked for the level of these antigens. When found in higher than normal amounts, it can be a sign of gallbladder cancer or other conditions.


Treatments for Gallbladder cancer

Radical Cholecystectomy

Its a surgical removal of gallbladder with the adjoining segments of the liver which is the only treatment for these patients. It can be done as a open or a laproscopic procedure. Here at LIMA we perform keyhole laparoscopic cholecystectomy.


Since most of the time its not exactly known about what is causing the gallbladder cancer, there are no actual preventive measures for this condition. Preventing the risk factors might be helpful in some cases.

  • Removing the gallbladders of longstanding gallstones and polyps is a prevention.

LIMA Experience

First in Chennai to do Single port surgery, one of the first in the World.

Lap Cholecystectomy Specialists

Dr. J. S. Rajkumar


M.S., F.I.C.S., Dip. N.B. (SURG.), F.R.C.S. (ENG.), F.R.C.S. (EDIN.), F.R.C.S. (GLASGOW), F.R.C.S. (IRELAND), F.I.M.S., F.A.I.S., F.R.M.S. (LONDON), F.A.E. (GASTRO), F.A.C.G. (USA), F.I.C.A. (USA), F.I.A.G.E.S., Dip M.I.S. (FR.)

Dr. Prabhakaran Raju

Consultant Surgical Gastroenterolgy


Dr. S. Akbar

Consultant General and Laparoscopic Surgeon

Dr. Anirudh Rajkumar

Bariatric and Laparoscopic Surgeon