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 estimated that 62 people in Ireland are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer each year. 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.