Gallbladder Cancer FAQs

Gallbladder Cancer Questions & Answers

Gallbladder cancer is a rare form of digestive cancer that makes up less than 1% of annual cancer cases. Find the answers to some frequently asked questions about gallbladder cancer.

Where does gallbladder cancer metastasize to?

In more advanced stages, gallbladder cancer can metastasize (spread) to the liver, lymph nodes, small intestine or stomach. It can spread to other areas of the body as well, but it’s most likely to spread to nearby organs first.

Can a blood test detect gallbladder cancer?

While there is not a specific blood test to detect gallbladder cancer, there is a test that can determine how much bilirubin is in your blood. Gallbladder problems, including cancer, can raise levels of bilirubin.

How fast does gallbladder cancer grow?

Since gallbladder cancer is often detected at more advanced stages, it can be difficult to know exactly how quickly it grows. The speed of growth also varies from person to person, as someone with a weaker immune system might find that their cancer spreads faster than someone with a strong immune system.

Can gallbladder stones cause cancer?

Gallbladder stones can increase your risk of developing gallbladder cancer, however, they aren’t a cause of cancer in themselves. 

How long can a person live with gallbladder cancer?

In the early stages of gallbladder cancer, 60-80% of patients have a 5-year survival rate, since the cancer is still contained in the gallbladder. Once cancer has spread beyond the gallbladder, however, survival rates are lower.

Is gallbladder cancer painful?

Gallbladder cancer causes ongoing abdominal pain which may worsen as the cancer spreads, but there are treatments to help manage pain.

What is the best treatment for gallbladder cancer?

The most effective treatment for gallbladder cancer is usually surgery. Removing the gallbladder can help prevent cancer from spreading, but it is often useful to combine surgery with other treatments like radiation to help prevent cancer from returning.

Resources & Support

Mercy offers a variety of support & resources for gallbladder cancer patients to nourish your mind and spirit while we fight your cancer.
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