Gallbladder Cancer Treatment

Gallbladder Cancer Treatment

Gallbladder cancer treatment options are for cancer of the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ that is responsible for storing bile, a fluid made in the liver that helps the body digest the fat from food that moves through the small intestine during the digestive process. Since the liver also can release bile, the gallbladder is not an essential organ and many people have it removed due to the development of gallstones.

However, cancer of the gallbladder can develop in some people. It is estimated that about 9,700 new cases of gallbladder cancer will be detected this year. Unfortunately, most gallbladder cancers are not discovered until they have become more advanced and spread beyond the gallbladder itself.

Gallbladder cancer treatment options include:

Surgery for Gallbladder Cancer Treatment
There are two types of surgery that can be performed to treat gallbladder cancer. The first, called a simple cholecystectomy, is where the entire gallbladder is removed. This type of surgery can be completed as a laparoscopic or open surgery. If the cancer that was removed is in the early-stage of development, no further surgery may be necessary.
If it has spread outside of the gallbladder, another procedure called a extended (or radical) cholecystectomy may be advised. In this procedure, the gallbladder, portion of the liver, surrounding lymph nodes, the common bile duct and the pancreas may also be removed. If the cancer has spread to other organs, portions of these organs also may be removed.
Radiation Therapy Gallbladder Cancer Treatment
To treat gallbladder cancer, radiation therapy may be given for one of three reasons. First, it may be used after surgery to try to kill any gallbladder cancer cells left behind. Secondly, it may be given instead of surgery in patients who can not tolerate surgery to remove the cancer. Finally, radiation therapy also is used to relieve symptoms such as pain in those gallbladder cancers that are diagnosed at very advanced stages or where other treatment options have proved to be ineffective.
Chemotherapy Gallbladder Cancer Treatment
The use of chemotherapy often is used in combination with radiation therapy. A chemotherapy drug called 5-fluorouracil is often given at the same time as radiation to try to make both gallbladder cancer treatment options more effective. Other chemotherapy agents such as capecitabine, cisplatin, doxorubicin, gemcitabine or mitomycin also are commonly used to treat gallbladder cancer.

Related Articles


The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute the practice of medicine. We encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician or nutritionist if they have any concerns regarding health issues related to diet, personal image and any other topics discussed on this site. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.