Symptoms of gallbladder cancer
Gallbladder cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Most symptoms appear in the later stages of the disease, once the tumour has grown into surrounding tissues and organs. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as gallbladder cancer. And some symptoms may be caused by non-cancerous gallbladder conditions such as gallstones and cholecystitis.
Some early gallbladder cancers are found by chance when a person has surgery to remove gallstones.
The most common symptom of gallbladder cancer is abdominal pain that doesn’t go away. It is usually on the right side in the upper part of the abdomen. Other signs and symptoms include:
- nausea and vomiting
- not able to tolerate fatty foods
- loss of appetite
- fever and chills
Advanced stages of gallbladder cancer may cause other symptoms including:
jaundice– this happens when the cancer blocks the bile duct and bile builds up in the blood and tissues of the body
- itching – jaundice can cause itchiness of the skin
- weight loss
- tenderness in the right side of the upper abdomen
- bloating or swelling of the abdomen because of the tumour or a buildup of bile – sometimes the doctor can feel a gallbladder that is larger than normal (enlarged) during a physical exam
- increase in the size of the liver
- buildup of fluid in the abdomen (called ascites)
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Siegel, A.B., Sheynzon,V., and Samstein, B. . Uncommon Hepatobiliary tumors. Raghavan, E., Blanke, C.D., Johnson, D. H., et al. (Eds.). Textbook of Uncommon Cancer. 4th ed. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons; 2012: 31:441-452.