Treatment for Gallbladder Cancer in St. Helena

We are a state-of-the-art cancer center serving Napa Valley

As one of the more rare forms of cancer, gallbladder cancer is not discussed very often. If you have been diagnosed with this type of cancer or are exhibiting some of the symptoms, the oncology team at Martin O’Neil Cancer Center has the skills and experience necessary to create a treatment program.

The gallbladder is located just under the liver. It is responsible for storing bile, which is essential for the digestion of food in the small intestine. While gallbladders are useful, they are not essential for living. You can live a normal life without one. This is good for patients with gallbladder cancer — removal of cancerous organs is often the best treatment method.

Types of gallbladder cancers

Most gallbladder cancers are adenocarcinomas. This cancer begins in the glandlike cells that line the surface of the gallbladder. There is also a rare form of gallbladder cancer known as papillary adenocarcinoma. This form of gallbladder cancer is less likely to spread than other cancers. Patients with papillary cancer have high recovery rates.

Gallbladder symptoms and treatment

There are not many symptoms of gallbladder cancer. It is a notoriously difficult cancer to diagnosis in the early stages. Gallbladder cancer is usually not diagnosed until it has spread to other parts of the body. Some patients, however, do experience symptoms before this occurs.

Gallbladder cancer symptoms include:

  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Nausea

When caught early, gallbladder cancer is almost always treated by removing the gallbladder and sometimes part of the liver. With the organ the cancer originated in gone, it is less likely that the cancer will reoccur. In later stages, after the cancer has spread, treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and clinical trials.