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Gallbladder cancer

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Treatment of stage III gallbladder cancer

The following are treatment options for stage III gallbladder cancer. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.

Treating stage III gallbladder cancer is challenging. Radical surgery offers the best outcome, but it is only considered if the cancer can be completely removed (is resectable) and the person can tolerate surgery.


Surgery may be offered in some cases for stage III gallbladder cancer. A person with stage III gallbladder cancer will be carefully evaluated before doctors decide to do surgery. If surgery is a treatment option, then a radical resection is done.

Palliative surgery or procedures

If the person with gallbladder cancer has jaundice or is not well enough to have an operation, or if the doctor feels that the cancer cannot be removed by surgery, then treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms, such as jaundicejaundiceA condition in which the skin and whites of the eyes become yellow and urine is dark yellow. and pain. Palliative surgery or procedures that may be done include:

  • inserting a small metal or plastic tube (stent) to keep the bile duct open
  • inserting a tube (catheter) to help drain bile
  • a biliary bypass to create a drainage route for bile around a blockage

Radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy, with or without chemotherapy, may be offered for stage III gallbladder cancer if the cancer is unresectable.


Chemotherapy drugs (radiosensitizers) may be combined with radiation therapy to make the cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation. Chemotherapy may also be used to try to slow the growth of unresectable cancers.

Clinical trials

People with gallbladder cancer may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.


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