There is no such thing as routine gallbladder cancer. Every patient’s gallbladder cancer is different, with different, individually unique genes and molecules driving each person’s specific cancer.

At the OSUCCC – James, our gallbladder cancer specialists are world-renowned cancer experts who focus solely on gallbladder cancer and who reach across medical disciplines (oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, gastroenterologists, hepatologists, pharmacists and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific cancer.

And by offering access to the country’s most advanced clinical trials right here at the OSUCCC – James, patients know that additional options, when needed, are often available for their treatment and care.

Gallbladder Cancer Facts

The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid that helps the stomach digest fat. When food enters your stomach, the gallbladder releases bile into the intestines through a thin tube called the common bile duct.

A system of ducts connects the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and small intestine. Some smaller ducts come together to form larger ducts.

Ducts inside the liver are called intrahepatic ducts. As the ducts exit the liver, they form the organ’s main duct, called the common hepatic duct. The gallbladder connects to the common hepatic duct through the cystic duct.

Ducts outside of the liver are called extrahepatic ducts. Cancer can develop in intrahepatic or extrahepatic ducts. Bile duct cancer also is called biliary cancer or cholangiosarcoma.

Gallbladder Liver Anatomy

Cancer can develop in the glands lining the inside of the gallbladder. More than 10,000 new cases of gallbladder and bile duct cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States, and more than half of them occur in the gallbladder. Women are more likely than men to have this disease.

Bile duct cancer is rare, accounting for less than one third of all gallbladder cancers. Most people who are diagnosed with bile duct cancer are 70 years old or older.

Most gallbladder and bile duct cancers are adenocarcinomas. These types of cancers begin in cells that are like glands.

There are many subtypes of bile duct cancer that are determined by analysis of your cancer cells under a microscope.

Gallbladder and bile duct cancers can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to the flu and other diseases and because the gallbladder is located so deep within your abdomen. Treatment for gallbladder and bile duct cancers can be influenced by the type and stage of the cancer.

Gallbladder Cancer Symptoms

People who have gallbladder cancer usually have no signs or symptoms early in the disease, but can experience:

  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Fever
  • Pain in the upper stomach area
  • Bloating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloating or lumps in the abdomen

A person who has bile duct cancer might have the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

If you have received a gallbladder or bile duct cancer diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to a gallbladder or bile duct cancer specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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