Treatment for gallbladder cancer

Your treatment depends on where the cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread, and your general health. Treatment for gallbladder cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted drugs.

Most people with gallbladder cancer already have advanced cancer by the time they are diagnosed. This means that the cancer has spread outside the gallbladder. 

Preparing for treatment and life afterwards (prehabilitation)

There are things you can do to help you feel more in control of your physical and mental health when preparing for treatment. In the hospital, preparing for treatment is also called prehabilitation or prehab.

Treatment options for gallbladder cancer

Treatment for gallbladder cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, targeted cancer drugs and radiotherapy. Find out more about the different types of treatment you might have.

Surgery for gallbladder cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for gallbladder cancer. There are different types of operations to remove the gallbladder or control symptoms of the cancer.

Chemotherapy for gallbladder cancer

Chemotherapy uses anti cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. You might have it as part of your treatment for gallbladder cancer.

Immunotherapy for gallbladder cancer

Immunotherapy can be given on its own or with other treatments, such as chemotherapy. You may have it as part of a clinical trial.

Radiotherapy for gallbladder cancer

Radiotherapy uses high energy x-rays to treat cancer cells. You might have it after surgery or to control the symptoms of gallbladder cancer. 

Follow up after gallbladder cancer treatment

You'll have follow up appointments and tests after treatment for gallbladder cancer.

Advanced gallbladder cancer

Advanced gallbladder cancer is cancer that has spread outside the gallbladder into lymph nodes or nearby organs. Or that has spread to another part of the body such as the lungs (secondary or metastatic gallbladder cancer). 

Last reviewed: 
26 Sep 2023
Next review due: 
26 Sep 2026