Warning Signs Of Gallbladder Cancer

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ, located on the right side of the abdomen beneath the liver, that stores bile and digestive fluids produced by the liver. The gallbladder’s primary job is to help the body break down digestive fats. Each time you eat, your gallbladder releases certain amounts of bile into your small intestine where the bile is mixed with partially digested food. Bile, which is water mixed with bile salts, helps break down large amounts of fat and cholesterol.

Gallbladder cancer is uncommon, and it’s often difficult to diagnose. When the cancer is detected early, the likelihood of recovery is good. However, if the cancer is detected at a late stage, the likelihood of recovery can be poor. Here are warning signs of gallbladder cancer to watch for.


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While jaundice is a common risk factor for newborn babies, the condition can also occur in gallbladder cancer patients. Jaundice, an issue that causes the skin and whites of the eyes to develop a yellowish tint, happens whenever there’s too much (or the body can’t properly process) bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow-colored waste chemical found in red blood cells, and bilirubin buildup occurs whenever the liver can’t get rid of the red blood cells after they’ve broken down.

In addition to the yellowish tinge that develops on the skin and whites of the eyes, additional symptoms of jaundice include pale stools, dark urine, weight loss, itchiness, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, and insomnia. When complications like these happen, they usually stem from an underlying problem such as gallbladder cancer. To diagnose the condition, a doctor may use several different blood tests to check bilirubin levels. A doctor may also conduct a liver biopsy or order an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, a procedure that combines X-ray imaging and endoscopy.

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In most cases, bloating usually develops as a result of excess air or gas production or other disturbances in the digestive system’s muscles. The uncomfortable condition can cause pain and a feeling of being 'stuffed,' and it can cause the stomach to appear larger. Although often compared to the symptoms associated with water retention, the condition differs in several ways and involves an excess buildup of liquids, gas, or solids within the digestive system.

While bloating is most often caused by eating foods you are intolerant to, it can also stem from a severe medical condition. Bloating may also be accompanied by stomach gurgling or rumbling, frequent belching or burping, excessive gas, and abdominal pain. When the condition is accompanied by vomiting, a high body temperature, diarrhea, heartburn, severe stomach pain, unexplained weight loss, or blood in the stools, it could be an indication of a serious underlying issue like gallbladder cancer.

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Lumps In Abdomen


Abdominal lumps occur whenever there’s swelling or bulging from any area of the stomach. Lumps in the abdomen may feel soft, but depending on the cause, they could have a firmer feel. Most abdominal lumps are caused by hernias that develop whenever parts of the abdominal cavity push through a portion of the muscles in the abdominal wall. However, the condition may also be caused by a more serious issue such as gallbladder cancer or other types of cancerous tumors. Abdominal lumps accompanied by pain, high body temperature, or vomiting may indicate a more serious underlying issue.

While a hernia can develop because of muscle strain associated with lifting something heavy or being constipated, in less common instances, abdominal lumps can also be caused by tumors. A tumor on the gallbladder can cause a noticeable lump, and whether the tumor will require surgery or a different form of treatment will largely depend on the tumor’s location and type. A doctor may order an imaging test to determine the location and size of the abdominal lump or a colonoscopy to be able to get a closer look at the mass.

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Pain Above Stomach


The upper portion of the abdomen is home to many important organs such as the pancreas, kidneys, liver, adrenal glands, and gallbladder. Typically, pain above the stomach is caused by a minor issue that will go away within a few days. However, if upper abdominal pain persists, it could be an indication of a more serious condition like gallbladder cancer.

Upper stomach pain accompanied with severe pressure, a yellowish skin tint, weight loss, a high body temperature, nausea, vomiting, extreme tenderness, or bloody stools may point to a significant underlying cause like cancer. Severe stomach pain that occurs suddenly, especially when accompanied by nausea and vomiting, may be an indication of a bowel obstruction from a tumor pressing on an organ or the bowel. Pain above the stomach accompanied by weight loss may also be caused by tumors pressing on the intestines or organs, resulting in a feeling of fullness after consuming even just a small amount of food.

Keep reading to understand more symptoms of gallbladder cancer.



Fever occurs whenever the body’s temperature is higher than normal. The condition may be the body’s natural defense against infection, but non-infectious problems can also cause it. While a temporary increase in body temperature can actually help your body fight off sickness, a severe increase in body temperature can be an indication a serious underlying issue like gallbladder cancer is present.

A high body temperature can be triggered by a variety of reasons, including the flu, common cold, food poisoning, sunburn, and inflammatory diseases. Symptoms associated with the condition may include muscle soreness, a loss of appetite, dehydration, sweating, a headache, shivering, and a feeling of weakness. When the condition persists for more than three days or the body’s temperature exceeds 103 degrees Fahrenheit, it could be an indication of a serious medical issue or a compromised immune system. The condition could also be a medical emergency if it’s accompanied by confusion, seizures, difficulty breathing, an inability to walk, chest pain, or hallucinations.


    HealthPrep Staff