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Gallbladder cancer

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The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ under the liver. Both the liver and the gallbladder are behind the right lower ribs. 

The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid made in the liver. Bile helps digest food as it passes through the small intestine. Bile is made by the liver. 

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FAQs

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  • Tumors are cancerous or noncancerous growths that form when too many cells grow. When too many cancer cells grow in the gallbladder area, a cancerous tumor can form.

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  • Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer can include:

    • Fever
    • Bloating or swelling
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Lumps in the stomach
    • Pain above the stomach
    • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

    These symptoms can happen for other reasons besides cancer. If you have symptoms like those listed above, you should talk to your provider to find out the reason. 

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  • Gallbladder cancer isn't easy to find early. There are tests to help find gallbladder cancer. Your doctor may want to check you for gallstones. Gallstones form when digestive fluid hardens. 

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  • Gallbladder cancer is rare. It's usually not found until in the late stage. 

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  • Your chances of getting gallbladder cancer go up if you:

    • Are older
    • Are female
    • Are overweight
    • Don’t eat healthy 
    • Are Native American, Alaska Native or Black
    • Have a personal or family history of gallstones
    • Are around cancer-causing sources at work 
    • Have a long-lasting infection and inflammation (swelling) in the gallbladder

    Find out more about who has greater chances of getting gallbladder cancer.

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  • There is no sure way to stop someone from getting gallbladder cancer. There are some things you can do to help lower your chances for getting it, such as:

    • Have a low-fat diet (eating plan) 
    • Don't smoke
    • Don't drink alcohol
    • Watch your body weight and get exercise
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  • Your doctor will work with you to find the right care plan for you. Some examples of treatment include:

    • Surgery to remove cancer 
    • Chemotherapy (using medication to make the cancer smaller or to kill cancer cells)
    • Radiation (using X-rays to kill cancer cells) 
    • Cryosurgery (using cold temperatures to freeze or kill cancer cells) 
    • Targeted therapy (using drugs to stop cancer cells from growing and spreading)
    • Immunotherapy (using the body’s immune system that naturally fights illness)
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