The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that is under the liver. Functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing bile. Bile helps digest fats in food as they pass through the small intestine. Gallbladder cancer is hard to diagnose due to the location of the gallbladder; doctors are unable to feel changes to the gallbladder during a regular physical.

While gallbladder cancer is rare, being hard to diagnose means that most people with gallbladder cancer are diagnosed in later stages. Gallbladder cancer is often found when a gallbladder is removed for recurrent gallstones.

In 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates that around 11,980 cases of gallbladder cancer will be diagnosed, 5,600 in men, and 6,380 in women. If you are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer, open communication with your cancer care team is important.

Below are some questions you should be asking your cancer care team upon being diagnosed:

  •         Has cancer spread beyond my gallbladder?
  •         What is the stage of my cancer, and what does that mean going forward?
  •         Do I need other tests before we consider treatment options?
  •         How much experience do you have treating gallbladder cancer?
  •         What are my treatment options?


For a full list of questions to consider, visit the American Cancer Society website.

We here at Southeast Radiation Oncology Center are available to answer any questions you have about a gallbladder cancer diagnosis, symptoms, stages, and treatment. Please contact us with any questions; a member of our team will be happy to assist you.