Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

What is Gallbladder Cancer

Gallbladder cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that lies just under the liver in the upper abdomen. The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid made by the liver to digest fat. When food is being broken down in the stomach and intestines, bile is released from the gallbladder through a tube called the common bile duct, which connects the gallbladder and liver to the first part of the small intestine.

A view of the gastrointestinal organs
Anatomy of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is just below the liver. Bile is stored in th
gallbladder and flows through the cystic duct and the common bile duct into the small
intestine when food is being digested. (click to enlarge)

The wall of the gallbladder has 3 main layers of tissue.

Between these layers is supporting connective tissue. Primary gallbladder cancer starts in the innermost layer and spreads through the outer layers as it grows.

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