Surgery can remove gallbladder cancers that were discovered early. Getting a second opinion can be helpful before having surgery. Another provider can confirm or disagree with how advanced the cancer is and if it is still treatable with surgery.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams or particles to destroy cancer cells while preserving healthy tissue. It is typically used after surgery or with chemotherapy. Learn more by visiting our Radiation Oncology website for an overview of services.
People undergoing chemotherapy are given medications that attack cancer cells. Some patients qualify for hepatic artery infusion. During this treatment, a chemotherapy agent is inserted directly into the main artery that goes into the liver (the hepatic artery) so more of the medication can reach the tumor. Also, patients may experience fewer side effects because the healthy liver removes the medication before it reaches the rest of the body.
The focus of palliative care is to reduce or control gallbladder cancer symptoms. If gallbladder cancer has spread too far, your physician may recommend:
- Alcohol injection. These injections help relieve pain in the nerves that carry pain signals from the gallbladder to the brain.
- Biliary stent or catheter. Physicians can insert a small tube or catheter into the bile duct or gallbladder to help with drainage. This procedure can relieve symptoms in advanced cancers. The stent or catheter may need replacement every few months.
- Biliary bypass. This operation allows bile to drain from the liver and gallbladder. A biliary bypass gives relief for longer than a stent. Your physician will determine if you are healthy enough to have a biliary bypass.