Note: The information on cancer types on the ACRF website is not designed to provide medical or professional advice and is for information only. If you have any health problems or questions please consult your doctor.
The gallbladder stores bile from the liver before it is passed into the small bowel. When food is being broken down in the stomach and intestines, bile is released from the gallbladder to assist food digestion. It travels through a tube called the common bile duct, which connects the gallbladder and liver to the first part of the small intestine.
Gallbladder Cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues and lining of the gallbladder.
The gallbladder is made up of three layers. Primary gallbladder cancer generally starts in the innermost layer and spreads through the outer layers as it grows.
There are several types of gallbladder cancer all named according to the cell that’s affected. The main type of gallbladder cancer is adenocarcinoma which arises from glandular cells in the gallbladder lining. About 85% of all gallbladder cancers are adenocarcinomas.
Rarer types include cancers starting in the skin-like cells of the gallbladder, called squamous cell carcinomas, sarcomas of the gallbladder and lymphomas of the gallbladder.
It’s important to note that a number of conditions may cause these symptoms, not just gallbladder cancer. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
Before gallbladder cancer can be treated, it must be accurately diagnosed.
Procedures that create pictures of the gallbladder and the area around it help diagnose the cancer and show how far cancer cells have spread within and around the gallbladder. This is called staging.
Some of the tests used to diagnose gallbladder cancer include:
Different treatment schedules will be advised for patients with gallbladder cancer, depending on the extent and severity of the cancer. The most common options are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
A cholecystectomy, for example, is a surgical procedure which removes the gallbladder and some of the tissues around it. Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.
If the cancer has spread further and cannot be removed entirely, the following types of palliative surgery may relieve symptoms:
new cases are estimated to be diagnosed in 2018
is the five-year survival rate for gallbladder cancer
years is the median age of diagnosis
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Cancer in Australia 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
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