Gallbladder Cancer

Our experts work with you to create a personalized treatment plan for your gallbladder cancer so you can live longer and feel better, with the best outcomes.

Our experts work with you to create a personalized treatment plan for your gallbladder cancer so you can live longer and feel better, with the best outcomes.

Our experts work with you to create a personalized treatment plan for your gallbladder cancer so you can live longer and feel better, with the best outcomes.

Gallbladder cancer starts in your gallbladder — which stores bile, a substance your liver makes to help digest fat. It's a rare cancer but usually responds well to treatment if diagnosed early.

Signs You Should Get Help for Gallbladder Cancer

The following are some common symptoms of gallbladder cancer:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting

Most of the time, having these symptoms does not mean you have gallbladder cancer. Other conditions have similar symptoms. Call your primary care doctor if you have any of these symptoms and they do not go away.

If you are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer, your doctor will likely refer to you a specialist in liver and gastrointestinal cancers who can determine the best next steps for diagnosis and treatment.

Gallbladder Cancer Treatment at Rush

Your care at Rush may involve one or more of the following:

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure that uses X-rays and an endoscope (a lighted, flexible tube containing a camera) to diagnose or treat problems in the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas.
  • Gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy) is the standard treatment for pain caused by gallstones, small clumps of bile and cholesterol that can form in your gallbladder.
  • Chemotherapy or cancer-fighting drugs that kill cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy, which usually involves advanced technologies that treat the cancer without damaging the surrounding tissue.
  • Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage and other options to help you cope with pain, fatigue and other challenges related to gallbladder cancer.

Rush Excellence in Gallbladder Cancer Care

  • Nationally ranked experts focused on you: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center among the best in the nation for cancer and gastroenterology and GI surgery. Our specialists will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan for you.
  • Minimally invasive options: Whenever possible, our surgeons perform procedures using small incisions, so you have less pain, shorter recovery times and reduced scarring. This includes surgeries to remove cancer (called resections).
  • Enhanced recovery after surgery: Our enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) practice optimizes your experience before, during and after surgery. It was designed to empower you to be fully engaged in the recovery process. Our patients who follow the ERAS program typically recover faster and have shorter hospital stays. The program also allows more patients to leave the hospital without needing narcotic medications to manage pain. In fact, use of narcotic medications has decreased to 20% compared to 90% a few years ago thanks to ERAS. At the same time, our patients report less pain.