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Gallbladder Cancer


Cancer of the gallbladder – the organ where bile is concentrated and stored to help the liver digest fats - is a very rare disease. Gallbladder cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages because symptoms typically don't develop until the cancer has grown significantly.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with gallbladder cancer, talk to us. Inroads are being made in the treatment of gallbladder cancer, and seeking medical care at a comprehensive cancer center provides the experience and options necessary to successfully attack this rare but serious disease.

Request a consultation

If you have been diagnosed with gallbladder cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

Experience and expertise matters in treatment

Because gallbladder cancer is rare, few physicians have experience treating them. Patients who seek treatment or second opinions at a comprehensive cancer center, such as City of Hope, will have the most experienced doctors and therapy options not available elsewhere, such as clinical trials of promising drugs or minimally invasive surgical techniques that can reduce side effects and recovery time.

Additionally, for over a decade, U.S. News & World Report has named City of Hope as one of the top cancer hospitals in the country.

We are committed to treating the whole person, body and soul and we have an unmatched reputation for coordinated, compassionate care. City of Hope brings together a broad array of cancer expertise from multiple disciplines, all under one roof:

  • State-of-the-art diagnostic imaging and mapping tools
  • Renowned surgeons with specialized gall bladder cancer expertise
  • Robotically-assisted surgery using the da Vinci system
  • Minimally-invasive laparoscopic procedures
  • Ultra-precise radiation therapy including helical TomoTherapy
  • Chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy
  • Pioneering drug research and clinical trials

Plus, your supportive care continues long after treatment is complete. Our specialists will help you adjust to post-treatment diet and lifestyle changes, and our unique family and survivorship programs will assist your loved ones.


Early detection of gallbladder cancer is crucial

Catching gallbladder cancer early — before they have a chance to grow and spread — is crucial to successful treatment.

Although there are no screening guidelines for this cancer, it can be detected during a patient’s annual physical exam. If blood tests reveal abnormal liver enzymes, positive results on follow-up tests — and ruling out other diseases — may indicate gallbladder cancer.

In between exams, people should contact their physician if they experience any of the following, which may be symptoms of these cancers:

  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored or greasy stools
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment options for gallbladder cancer

Every patient is different, with different needs. City of Hope treats you as a valued individual. Our entire team works together to bring you precise, state-of-the-art surgical, radiation, drug and other therapy options that will deliver the best outcome for you. We support you every step of the way, both during treatment and long after, helping you and your loved ones manage your recovery.

Highlights of City of Hope's gallbladder cancer treatment program include:

  • Minimally invasive surgery
    Our surgeons specialize in the complex procedures often required to treat gallbladder cancer. They are constantly working to develop procedures to improve a patient’s clinical outcome and quality of life. These include expanding the use of minimally invasive procedures and stimulating liver regeneration, so more suspicious tissue can be removed during surgery. Procedures may nclude laparoscopic surgery (using miniaturized operation instruments inserted through a thin tube) and robotically-assisted surgery (using a specially-designed robot equipped with miniature surgical tools and advanced imaging systems, giving the surgeon superior visualization and greater control at the tumor site.
  • Precise radiation delivery
    Using advanced imaging techniques, our radiation team can accurately locate and target a gallbladder tumor for treatment, ensuring maximum impact against cancer cells while minimizing exposure to surrounding normal tissues. At City of Hope, these techniques include respiratory gating and four-dimensional computed tomography, to account for organ and tumor movements during breathing.
  • Hepatic Arterial Infusion (HAI)
    A new development in delivery chemotherapy to treat gallbladder cancer, HAI uses a tiny pump implanted under the skin in the lower abdomen to deliver cancer-killing drugs directly into the main blood vessel entering the liver and surrounding organs, including the gallbladder. This direct method of chemotherapy delivery can be more effective against gallbladder cancer.
  • Novel drug trials
    In addition to standard chemotherapy regimens, City of Hope patients can enroll in clinical trials testing new drugs (or new drug combinations) that may be more effective against the disease and/or less toxic to normal tissues.

Learn more about diagnostic tests and other information on gallbladder cancer.

City of Hope’s renowned physicians and researchers utilize the latest in technology and innovation to treat cancer, coupled with our enduring belief in providing unparalleled compassionate care.


Donald S. David, M.D., F.A.C.G.

Clinical Specialties

  • Gastroenterology

Medical Oncology

Vincent Chung, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology
Marwan G. Fakih, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology
Daneng Li, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology
Dean W. Lim, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Medical Oncology

Radiation Oncology

Yi-Jen Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Radiation Oncology

Surgical Oncology

Yuman Fong, M.D.

Clinical Specialties

  • Surgical Oncology
Lily Lau Lai, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Clinical Specialties

  • Surgical Oncology
Laleh Melstrom, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.

Clinical Specialties

  • Surgical Oncology
  • Hepato-Pancreato-Billiary (HPB) Surgery
Gagandeep Singh, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Clinical Specialties

  • Surgical Oncology
  • Liver and Pancreatic Surgery
  • Liver Cancers and Metastases
  • Biliary Tract Cancers
  • Gallbladder Cancer
  • Pancreas Cancer

Research and clinical trials for gallbladder cancer

At City of Hope, we offer access to numerous clinical trials aimed at improving survival rates and enhancing quality of life. Many of these new therapies are not always available elsewhere.

Our latest research covers many areas including new drug combinations that prevent gallbladder cancer recurrence, profiling of cancer tissue at the molecular level to determine genetic abnormalities, and blocking a specific protein known to cause a form of the disease.

Learn more about our current clinical trials.

Living with gallbladder cancer

When you come to City of Hope, you automatically gain access to an unparalleled array of support services to help you and your family take each step in your lymphoma journey. We can help with all of these concerns, and more:

  • Managing side effects
  • Pain management
  • Navigating the health care system
  • Your emotional, social and spiritual health
  • Staying healthy and active
  • Healthy cooking and eating
  • Healing arts
  • Caregiver skills
  • Dealing with family, school or work stress

Learn more about these resources at our Living with Cancer or Supportive Care Medicine sites.

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