What Are the Symptoms of Gallbladder Cancer?

The symptoms of gallbladder cancer include jaundice (characterized by a yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, nausea, decreased appetite and unexplained weight loss, according to Mayo Clinic. Abdominal lumps, bloating and localized pain in the upper right abdomen are also common symptoms of gallbladder cancer. Greasy or light-colored stools and dark urine are other less common symptoms.

Gallbladder cancer, a form that begins in the gallbladder and may spread to the liver and other organs, is an extremely rare disease, notes Mayo Clinic. However, the symptoms of gallbladder cancer usually do not present until the disease is in an advanced stage, at which point the prognosis for recovery tends to be poor. Often, the symptoms of gallbladder cancer are indicative of medical conditions other than cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. For instance, the jaundice that often accompanies gallbladder cancer may be caused by a hepatitis infection. Abdominal cramping often has other root causes as well, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, and is not necessarily indicative of gallbladder cancer.

In order to confirm a diagnosis of gallbladder cancer, a doctor runs a series of tests, including a full physical exam, X-ray imaging and liver function tests to check for bilirubin and albumin levels in the blood, according to the American Cancer Society. Other tests may also be performed, such as an abdominal or endoscopic ultrasound, an MRI, a CT scan or a cholangiogram, an imaging test specifically designed to identify damage or blockage in the bile ducts.