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Gallbladder cancer

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If gallbladder cancer spreads

Cancer cells have the potential to spread from the gallbladder to other parts of the body where they can grow into new tumours. This process is called metastasis. The tumours are also called metastasis (singular) or metastases (plural). Metastases are also called secondary tumours.

Understanding the usual progression of cancer helps the doctor to predict its probable course, plan treatment and anticipate further care.

Gallbladder cancer usually spreads by growing into surrounding tissues and organs. The most common sites where gallbladder cancer spreads are:

  • lymph nodes near the gallbladder
  • bile ducts
  • liver and the blood vessels of the liver
  • pancreas
  • small intestine – usually the duodenum which is the first part of the small intestine
  • stomach
  • colon
  • lung

Gallbladder tumours can also spread, or "seed," cancer cells throughout the abdominal cavity.


Photo of Rayjean Hung Dr Hung helped identify genetic mutations linked to lung cancer risk.

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A helping hand for families

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The Canadian Cancer Society helps with expenses for children in cancer treatment and their families.

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