Gall Bladder Cancer


Gall ballder is an important part of the body but the most problematic as well. In general surgery the most common surgery that is done is for gall bladder stones wherein the entire gall bladder is removed by the surgeon. When it comes to gall bladder cancer it is one cancer which if diagnosed can be treated effectively but unfortunately it is diagnosed very late when hardly any treatment for gall bladder cancer is possible. In India most of the gall bladder cancer cases are diagnosed after the gall bladder that is removed is sent for biopsy. Due to the location of gall bladder cancer spreads very quickly to common bile duct, liver, stomach and intestine. In most of the cases when our cancer surgeons in India see the patient in OPD the gall bladder cancer has already advanced to stage 4.


The most common reasons for gall bladder cancer are:

  • Gall bladder stones
  • Excessive calcium deposits on the wall of gall bladder
  • Obesity
  • Choledochal cyst
  • Polyps or growth in gall bladder
  • Scarring of Gall bladder

The reason why it is difficult to differntiate between gall bladder stones and gall bladder cancer is because the symptoms of the gall bladder cancer and gall bladder stones are almost same. Following are the symptoms of gall bladder cancer that should not be ignored:

  • Abdominal pain in right upper abdomen
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Jaundice


Diagnosis of the gall bladder cancer is done through the following tests:

  • Liver Function Test along with Complete Blood Count
  • Ultrasound of the whole abdomen
  • CECT Scan of the abdomen
  • CA 19-9
  • PET CT Scan of whole body

As such the blood tests give an idea that some thing is not right but CECT of the abdomen is one of the best test to diagnose with clarity. Once it is established that the patient is having cancer of gall bladder, next step is to know the staging which is done in India through a whole body PET CT scan.


Best results for gall bladder cancer treatment are achieved when it is diagnosed at an early stage. Most of the time it is incidental diagnosis that gives an early stage diagnosis. Following are the treatment options available for gall bladder cancer in India:

  • Surgery– In case gall bladder cancer is diagnosed in early stage then the best option is to go for a laparoscopic or open gall bladder removal surgery. In case the spread is there intio liver then the cancer surgeon in India might opt for removal of gall bladder along with small portion of affected liver and common bile duct.
  • Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy– As most of the gall bladder cancers are diagnosed at later stage hence the role of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is paramount. Once the cancer has spread then the surgery is virtually out of question. In this case best a cancer specialst can do is to try and slow down the cancer through chemo and radiation.


Cost of the treatment for gall bladder cancer in India again depends upon the stage it is in. In early stage where the gall bladder has to be removed, surgery will cost approximately INR 90,000 to 1,10,000 whereas in case the cancer surgeon in India has to remove the part of liver and bile duct then the cost may go up to INR 3,00,000 to 4,00,000