What Is Gallbladder Cancer?

The gallbladder is a small organ beneath the liver that stores bile. Bile breaks down fat in the foods you eat and helps you digest food. There are several forms of gallbladder cancer, including:

  • Adenocarcinoma: About 90% of gallbladder cancers are adenocarcinoma, which develops in the gland cells. A type of this cancer called papillary adenocarcinoma is less likely than other types of gallbladder cancer to spread to other organs.
  • Rarer types of gallbladder cancer include:
    • Sarcoma: Cancer of the soft tissue.
    • Small cell carcinoma
    • Adenosquamous carcinoma: Cancer that impacts two types of cells, squamous cells, which line organs, and gland-like cells.
    • Squamous cell carcinoma: Cancer in the lining of the gallbladder tissue.

Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer

Symptoms of gallbladder cancer may not appear until advanced stages of the cancer and may include:

  • Pain in your upper right abdomen
  • A sense fullness, even if you only eat a small amount
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lumps in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) or the whites of the eyes (scleral icterus)
  • Fever
  • Severe itching

These symptoms may also be related to other health conditions, such as gallstones or a gallbladder infection.