Gall bladder cancer

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with gallbladder cancer, we can provide the information you need, from understanding the cancer itself, to choosing the right treatment, to finding support.

What you should know about gallbladder cancer

  • Cancer of the gallbladder is when cells in the gallbladder change and affect how the gallbladder works normally.
  • The main symptoms of gallbladder cancer are pains in your tummy area (abdomen), jaundice (yellowing of your skin and eyes) and nausea (feeling sick).
  • Gallbladder cancer can be diagnosed by tests such as an ERCP, laparoscopy and CT scan.
  • The main treatment for gallbladder cancer is surgery. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also be used.

What is the gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a small organ in your abdomen, just under your liver. It stores bile, which is a digestive fluid made by your liver. Bile breaks down fats during digestion in the small bowel (intestine).
Tiny tubes called bile ducts connect your gallbladder to your small bowel and liver. Together, the gallbladder and bile ducts are known as the biliary system.

What is gallbladder cancer?

When cancer develops in your gallbladder, the cells change and grow in an abnormal way. As the cancer grows it forms a collection of cells (tumour). This tumour can cause a blockage and cause symptoms, such as jaundice.

How common is gallbladder cancer?

Gallbladder cancer is not very common. It is a difficult cancer to diagnose because of where it is found in the abdomen.

Cancer publications

For booklets and factsheets, including information about cancer types, treatments, side-effects, emotional effects, financial information and more. Visit our publications section.

Useful resources

Note: Links to external websites are listed below. The Irish Cancer Society is not responsible for the contents of external websites.

Call our National Cancer Helpline

Freephone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse
It's open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 7pm and Friday from 9am to 5pm