Gallbladder Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2017

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

People with gallbladder cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with gallbladder cancer do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not cancer, such as a stomach virus.

Gallbladder cancer is usually not found at an early stage because the gallbladder is located deep inside the body and sometimes there may be no symptoms at all. Therefore, gallbladder cancer can be difficult to detect during routine physical examinations. Sometimes, gallbladder cancer is found unexpectedly after removal of the gallbladder for another reason, such as gallstones or infection of the gallbladder. When symptoms do occur, they include the following:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Bloating

  • A lump in the abdomen

  • Fever

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. You may use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.