Gallbladder Cancer Symptoms

Gallbladder cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages1. Most symptoms appear in the later stages of the disease, once the tumour has grown into surrounding tissues and organs. Other health conditions, like gallstones and cholecystitis, can cause the same symptoms as gallbladder cancer. Some early gallbladder cancers are found by chance when a person has surgery to remove gallstones.

The most common symptom of gallbladder cancer is abdominal pain that doesn’t go away. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • not able to tolerate fatty foods
  • loss of appetite
  • fever and chills

Advanced stages of gallbladder cancer may cause other symptoms including:

  • jaundice
  • itching
  • weight loss
  • tenderness on the right side of the upper abdomen
  • bloating or swelling of the abdomen because of the tumour or a buildup of bile – sometimes the doctor can feel a gallbladder that is larger than normal (enlarged) during a physical exam
  • increase in the size of the liver
  • buildup of fluid in the abdomen (called ascites)

1 The information on this page was provided by the Canadian Cancer Society.