Introduction: What is Gallbladder Cancer?

Gallbladder cancer is rare and occurs when the cells in the organ begin to grow and multiply uncontrollably. The gallbladder lies right under the liver and stores bile. Primary gallbladder cancer starts in the inner mucosal layer of the organ. 


Due to the location of the gallbladder and lack of early symptoms, this cancer is usually difficult to diagnose in the initial stages. Common symptoms that appear as gallbladder cancer advances include fever, jaundice, and abdominal pain. 


Women have a greater risk of developing gallbladder cancer than men. The life expectancy of people with this cancer depends upon the extent of cancer spread outside the organ. 

How Is Gallbladder Cancer Treated?

The treatment options for gallbladder cancer depend upon several factors, including type, stage and extent of cancer spread. The three standard treatment options include:


  • Surgery

In most cases of gallbladder cancer, surgery is used to remove the organ and a few healthy tissues around it. If the nearby lymph nodes are affected, they may be removed during the surgery. Surgery for gallbladder cancer is usually laparoscopic. In cases where gallbladder cancer has spread and cannot be surgically removed, doctors may perform palliative surgery to relieve symptoms. 


  • Radiation therapy

This therapy uses high-energy x-rays or other radiation types to kill or damage cancer cells and prevents them from growing. Radiation therapy can be external (when the radiation source is external to the body) or internal (when the source of radiation is located inside the body)


For gallbladder cancer treatment, radiation therapy may be used in the following situations:

  •   After surgery: To kill cancer cells that may have been left after the surgery. This is called adjuvant therapy and reduces the chances of recurrence.


  •   Part of therapy for advanced cancers: Surgery may not be helpful in cases where gallbladder cancer has spread in the body. In such cases, radiation therapy may be used to decrease the spread of cancer and prolong life.


  •   As palliative treatment: When surgery may not help treat cancer, radiation therapy can be used to relieve symptoms and improve the individual’s quality of life by shrinking the tumour size.


Chemotherapy is routinely used in gallbladder cancer treatment. You may require chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumour size, after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and prevent a recurrence, or as palliative treatment to reduce the tumour size and improve symptoms when it cannot be surgically removed.


Newer treatment options increasingly used in treating gallbladder cancer include radiation sensitisers, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Gallbladder cancer treatment may cause side effects. Your doctor will inform you about what to expect during and after your gallbladder treatment procedures. If your doctor feels a new treatment in clinical trials may be helpful, they may recommend you enrol in it.


You may be required to visit your doctor for follow-up tests and monitoring during and after your gallbladder treatment. If you are unclear about your gallbladder cancer diagnosis or treatment plan, ask your doctor for a second opinion.


How Can Klarity Oncology Help?

When it comes to cancer care, making informed decisions is paramount. At Klarity Oncology, our cancer care team will hand-hold you through your journey, keep you informed about your appointments, help you seek second opinions with the top gallbladder cancer specialists in the UK and enable follow-up consultation with your doctors.


Need help with your gallbladder cancer? Reach out to us today!


Gallbladder Cancer Cost in the UK

Gallbladder treatment cost in the UK depends on several factors, including where you choose to undergo treatment (Public vs private centre). The treatment for gallbladder cancer is usually a team effort and is managed by a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including a surgical oncologist, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist and gastroenterologist.


Most health insurance providers in the UK cover gallbladder cancer treatment costs. You must check with your insurance provider and understand what is included in your policy and what isn’t.


Your doctor will suggest several treatment options and give you a fair estimate of the financials for each. An open and honest discussion with your doctor and healthcare team will enable shared decision-making.

How Is Gallbladder Cancer Treatment Cost Calculated?

Gallbladder cancer affects everyone differently, so your treatment plan is customised for you. The treatment options for your gallbladder cancer, recommendations and cost depend upon several factors, such as:


  • Type and stage of your cancer
  • The extent of spread outside the gallbladder
  • Treatment plan 
  • Your treatment preferences
  • Existing co-morbidities
  • Surgical procedures and hospital stay
  • Regimen and schedule for radiation and chemotherapy
  • Medications
  • Side effect management
  • Enrolment in clinical trials


It is recommended to keep some extra finances for unforeseen expenditures during your gallbladder cancer treatment. 

Talk to Us

If you have been diagnosed with gallbladder cancer, you must discuss all available treatment options, outcomes and expected side effects with your doctor and healthcare team. You must be confident about your diagnosis and treatment plan and always make an informed decision about the next step. If you have questions about your gallbladder cancer, feel free to ask your team about them. 


Need help with a second opinion? We’ve got you! Connect with us today.




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