Gallbladder cancer


Gallbladder cancer occurs when growth of abnormal cells arise in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is located on the right side of the abdomen, underneath the liver. The function of the gallbladder is to store bile and digestive fluid that is released by the liver. Early detection and diagnosis of gallbladder cancer can increase the outcome of the treatment, but early-stage of gallbladder cancer are usually asymptomatic and could be difficult to detect.


  • Upper right abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin)


Gallbladder cancer occurs when there is a change of DNA in the gallbladder. DNA in cells alters the cell’s behavior. Therefore, the cell mutation in the gallbladder causes uncontrolled duplication, resulting in forming a mass of cells also known as a tumor. This tumor then begins to invade and destroy the healthy tissues. These cells have the tendency to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body).

Gallbladder cancer mostly starts growing in the glandular cells that are aligned with the inner part of the gallbladder. When gallbladder cancer occurs in glandular cell, the disease is called adenocarcinoma.

Risk factors

  • Sex: Women are more prone to have the disease than men.
  • Age: The higher the age, the greater the risk of having gallbladder cancer.
  • Having history of gallstones: When patients have gallstones, the risk of getting gallbladder cancer increases. Large gallstones tend to result in higher risks of acquiring the disease.
  • Other gallbladder diseases and conditions: Other diseases and conditions that are associated with gallbladder cancer are polyps, chronic inflammation and infection. These are also the risk factors.
  • Bile ducts inflammation: Primary sclerosing cholangitis leads to an inflammation of the ducts that carry bile from the gallbladder and liver. This condition puts patient in an increased risk of having gallbladder cancer.