Understanding Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer

Health & Wellness Tips
Understanding Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Photo

This month’s cancer theme is gallbladder and bile duct cancer. It’s important to be aware of these types of cancers and the treatment that comes with them.

Gallbladder Cancer: To understand this cancer, it can help to know more about the gallbladder and what function it has. The gallbladder is small and is under the liver, located behind the right lower ribs. The gallbladder concentrates and stores bile, a fluid that is made in the liver. When food is being digested, the gallbladder sends the bile through a small tube called the cystic duct. The gallbladder isn’t necessary to live, and many people have them removed. This type of cancer is rare, but to lower your risk, it is important to stay at a healthy weight, be active, and eat a healthy diet with a focus on plant based foods.

Gallbladder cancer has various treatments including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and palliative therapy. Gallbladder cancer may be treated with a cholecystectomy, surgery to remove the gallbladder and some of the tissues around it. Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing. Our oncologists have many years of experience and are here to help with treatment. It’s important to discuss all the treatment options with your doctor, and go over all of the side effects.

Bile Duct Cancer: The bile ducts are a series of thin tubes that go from the liver to the small intestine. Their primary job is to move a fluid called bile from the liver and gallbladder into the small intestine, where it helps digest the fats in food. Cancer can start anywhere in the bile duct system.

There are many methods in treating bile duct cancer, just like gallbladder cancer. The extent of this cancer determines which treatment would be the best option. Surgery is the primary treatment because it offers a realistic chance for a cure. The type of surgery done to remove cancer depends on the location and extent of cancer. Radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be given after surgery to try to lower the risk that cancer will come back. This is called adjuvant therapy. Please contact us with any questions you may have.


New York Cancer & Blood Specialists is committed to our patients. We are dedicated to providing each patient with a unique path to treatment and unmatched support. We strive to make quality, compassionate cancer care available from Montauk to Manhattan. We are proud to be a partner of OneOncology and a proud sponsor of the New York Cancer Foundation.