Risk Factors for Gallbladder Cancer

Having gallstones is the most important risk factor for gallbladder cancer1. The likelihood that you will be diagnosed with gallbladder cancer increases with age. Most people diagnosed with gallbladder cancer are over age 65. More women than men develop gallbladder cancer. Women have higher rates of gallstones and gallbladder inflammation, and this may contribute to their higher risk.

Gallbladder cancer rates are higher in certain countries and ethnic groups. Higher than average rates of gallbladder cancer occur in Israel, India, Latin America, eastern Asia and Europe. In North America, the number of people who are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer is low, but the rate of gallbladder cancer for Indigenous people of Canada and Native and Hispanic Americans is higher than average.

If you have any of these conditions, you may be at a higher risk for gallbladder cancer:

  • Gallstones
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Choledochal cysts
  • Abnormalities of the pancreaticobiliary duct junction
  • Bacterial infection
  • Porcelain gallbladder
  • Obesity
  • Polyps

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