Surgery can be used to remove the gall bladder. If the cancer has spread outside the gall bladder, you may have a larger operation called a radical cholecystectomy.

About surgery for gall bladder cancer

You will be referred to a surgeon who is a specialist in gall bladder cancer. If the cancer is found at an early stage, the aim of treatment is usually to cure the cancer. If it is not possible to remove all the cancer, the surgeon removes as much as possible to help control the cancer and improve symptoms.

When cancer is found during gall bladder surgery

Sometimes doctors find the cancer by chance when they are doing keyhole surgery to remove the gall bladder (laparoscopic cholecystectomy). If this happens, they change the operation to open surgery. They remove the gall bladder and surrounding tissues through a larger cut in the tummy. This makes it easier to remove all the cancer.

A cancer may also be found after surgery for gallstones when doctors examine the gall bladder. If this happens, you may need further surgery to try to make sure all the cancer is removed.

Radical cholecystectomy

If the cancer has spread outside the gall bladder, you may have a larger operation called a radical cholecystectomy to remove:

After your operation, you will stay in an intensive care ward for the first couple of days. You will then be moved to a general ward until you recover. Most people need to be in hospital for about 2 weeks after this operation.

See also

After surgery to remove your gall bladder

After their gall bladder has been removed, some people may have problems with:

  • bloating
  • wind
  • diarrhoea.

These problems usually improve within a few weeks. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any of these problems. They can give you advice and medicines to help.

We have more information about coping with bladder and bowel problems.

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