Gallbladder Cancer Clinical Presentation

Updated: Dec 03, 2021
  • Author: Eric Fox, DO, MA; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Presentation

History

The symptoms of gallbladder cancer overlap with the symptoms of gallstones and biliary colic. Abdominal pain may be of a more diffuse and persistent nature than the classic right upper quadrant pain of gallstone disease. Jaundice, anorexia, and weight loss often indicate more advanced disease. [18]

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Physical

Findings on physical examination may include the following:

  • Jaundice
  • Palpable mass in the right upper quadrant (Courvoisier sign, if this is due to a palpable gallbladder)
  • Periumbilical lymphadenopathy (Sister Mary Joseph nodes)
  • Left supraclavicular adenopathy (Virchow node)
  • Pelvic seeding: Palpable mass on digital rectal examination (Blumer shelf).
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Causes

See Pathophysiology. Associated conditions include the following:

  • Chronic gallstones
  • Calcification of the gallbladder (porcelain gallbladder) - 10-25% incidence of gallbladder cancer
  • Crohn ileocolitis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Occupational chemical exposure
  • Estrogens
  • Typhoid carriage
  • Anomalous pancreatobiliary duct junction
  • Gallbladder polyps
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