Signs and Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer

Gallbladder cancer as the name suggests, begins in the gallbladder, an organ that stores a substance called bile. To read about gallbladder and gallbladder cancer, click here

gallbladder cancer symptoms

Gallbladder cancer doesn’t often show signs or symptoms in the early stages because it is located deep inside the body. It is successfully treated when diagnosed in the early stages, but diagnosing it in the early stages is very difficult. Read about the diagnosing of gallbladder cancer here

Early detection of gallbladder cancer:

Gallbladder cancer is hard to find in its early stages, the organ is located deep in the body and tumours cannot be seen or felt during routine examinations. Gallbladder cancer has no reliable screening tests to detect the cancer early and so these are usually detected after the tumour has grown enough to show symptoms. The few cases that are detected early are due to other conditions related to the gallbladder such as gallstones or inflammation. There are no early signs of gallbladder cancer noticeable other than the above mentioned conditions.

What are the symptoms of gallbladder cancer?

Most of the gallbladder cancers are detected during diagnosis or treatment of other problems of the gallbladder or the liver. These cancers do not show any signs in the beginning and the symptoms do not appear until the advanced stages. Following are the most common symptoms of gallbladder cancer the a patient might experience:

Abdominal pain

People with gallbladder might experience severe pain in the abdomen, particularly in the right side upper part.

Nausea or Vomiting

Vomitings might sometimes be a symptom for gallbladder cancer.


In advanced stages, the cancer can cause jaundice, which a condition where the bile from the liver cannot drain into the intestines. This is caused when the cancer blocks the bile ducts. Hence, jaundice could be one of the main symptoms for the advanced stages of gallbladder cancer.

Lumps in the abdomen

The blocking of bile ducts can lead to inflammation/swelling of the gallbladder. When the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it can be felt in the form of lumps, especially in the right side of the abdomen.

Other common symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Fever
  • Dark urine
  • Greasy or light-colored stools

Reacting to the symptoms:

It is important to note that not all individuals experience the same symptoms and not all symptoms are caused by cancer and the above listed are not the only symptoms that could be noted. Gallbladder cancers are rare and it is easy to attribute the symptoms of this cancer to other less serious conditions such as gallstones, hepatitis, jaundice etc. However, on seeing any of the above symptoms of gallbladder cancer, it is recommended that the patient consults a doctor immediately and get diagnostic tests done to get their gallbladder tested. The patient should be aware of the condition and its symptoms, especially in case of presence of risk factors of gallbladder cancer, read about the risk factors here

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