Do the Different Stages of Gallbladder Cancer Show Different Symptoms?

Most often, gallbladder cancer doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms when it is in its early stages. For this reason, some people may have gallbladder cancer without knowing it. The gallbladder is located deep inside the body, and this makes it easy for cancer to grow undetected if it hasn’t metastasized, or spread. Typically, this malignancy is found in its early stages only when the gallbladder is removed for an unrelated reason, such as an infection or gallstones.

Symptoms of late-stage gallbladder cancer

Symptoms of gallbladder cancer tend to develop in stages 3 and 4, after the cancer has spread to the liver, lymph nodes or distant organs. Some common symptoms of gallbladder cancer include:

  • Abdominal pain, most often in the upper right part of the abdomen
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Lumps on the right side of the abdomen
  • Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes

Less common symptoms of gallbladder cancer

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, gallbladder cancer can sometimes cause less common symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Light-colored or greasy stools
  • Itchy skin

It is important to note that gallbladder cancer is relatively uncommon, and all of its symptoms can be caused by other conditions as well. If you are concerned that you have symptoms of gallbladder cancer, schedule an appointment with your physician to obtain a diagnosis.

If you would like to discuss gallbladder cancer with a physician at Moffitt Cancer Center, fill out a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488. You do not need a referral to request a consultation.