Once gallbladder cancer is found, staging tests are performed to find out if the cancer has spread and, if so, to what extent. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. For advanced cancers, treatment is done only to help relieve symptoms. Treatments include:
Surgical removal of the gallbladder is called cholecystectomy . Part of the liver and lymph nodes near the gallbladder may also be removed. In some cases, surgery is done to relieve symptoms by opening obstructed bile ducts. ERCP may also be used for this purpose.
This radiation uses radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation is most often administered from a source outside the body.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body killing mostly cancer cells, but also some healthy cells. Chemotherapy is not considered curative for gallbladder cancer, but may relieve symptoms in some patients.
Combined Modality Therapy (CMT)
CMT is a term gaining popularity and meaning several treatments at once or in succession. Although no one has shown that chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the same time are better than radiation therapy alone in the treatment of gallbladder cancer, CMT is better with many other kinds of cancers.