Gallbladder Tumors Clinical Presentation

Updated: Jun 15, 2023
  • Author: Thomas J VanderMeer, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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History and Physical Examination

Like most gallbladder lesions, early-stage adenocarcinoma tends to present with symptoms similar to those of cholelithiasis or biliary dyskinesia. Advanced gallbladder cancer presents with more significant symptoms, such as weight loss, jaundice, anorexia, ascites, and right-upper-quadrant mass.

Given this presentation, fewer than 50% of gallbladder cancers are diagnosed preoperatively. Many are diagnosed incidentally in gallbladders removed for biliary colic or cholecystitis. Unfortunately, most gallbladder cancers are not diagnosed until the later stages, and the overall 5-year survival rate is less than 5%.