Gallbladder Cancer Survivorship

About Gallbladder Cancer

At Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, patients with gallbladder cancer receive their care from a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized experts in the diagnosis, treatment and research of gastrointestinal cancer.

Gallbladder cancer is cancer that forms in the tissue of the gallbladder, a pear-shaped organ located near the liver in the upper abdomen that collects and stores bile.

Primary cancer of the gallbladder is very rare. Most gallbladder cancers are adenocarcinomas, meaning they are located in the surface area tissue of the organ. They can be further classified, depending on how the cancer appears under a microscope, as follows:

  • Papillary
  • Nodular
  • Tubular

Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN (7366).

Read more About Gallbladder Cancer

Diagnosing Gallbladder Cancer

An accurate cancer diagnosis from trusted cancer specialists is the first step in getting personalized treatment options to treat gallbladder cancer.

Patients who choose Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, benefit from a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists including gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons who work together to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan custom designed for each patient with gallbladder cancer.

Cancer specialists at Penn Medicine are highly experienced in using the most advanced techniques for diagnosing gallbladder cancer and are actively researching better and more precise ways to detect gallbladder cancer.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right person. Penn Medicine’s contact center has experienced cancer nurses available and ready to guide patients in finding the cancer specialist right for them.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN (7366).

Read more Diagnosing Gallbladder Cancer

Gallbladder Cancer Treatment

Following the diagnosis and staging of gallbladder cancer, cancer specialists at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center develop a personalized treatment plan. Penn's treatment options for gallbladder cancer include:

  • Surgery
    • Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)
    • Partial hepectomy
    • Surgical biliary bypass
    • Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage
    • Endoscopic stent placement
  • Radiation therapy
    • 3-D conformal radiation therapy
    • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
    • Volumetric-modulated arc therapy
    • Proton therapy
    • Photdynamic therapy (PDT)
    • Brachytherapy
  • Chemotherapy and biologic therapies
    • Chemotherapy
    • Chemoradiotherapy
    • Liver-directed biologic therapies
  • Clinical trials
  • Other treatments

Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN.

Read more Gallbladder Cancer Treatment

Gallbladder Cancer Survivorship

Survivorship programs at Penn Medicine are a distinct phase of gallbladder cancer care and are designed to help patients' transition from their gallbladder cancer treatment routine to a post-cancer care lifestyle. There are more than 12 million cancer survivors living and thriving today as a result of advances in cancer treatment. However, cancer treatments can result in physical, emotional and financial complications long after the therapy is complete.


Personalized Survivorship Care

At the end of treatment, gallbladder cancer patients should schedule a survivorship visit with their oncologist and nurse practitioner. At this time, patients are provided with a summary of the treatment received as well as a plan for follow-up care.

Penn cancer providers work one-on-one with patients to develop survivorship care plans. Since every cancer is unique, the plans are tailored to the patients. 

The survivorship care plan includes information on:

  • Potential long-term or late side effects of cancer treatment, the symptoms and treatment.
  • Recommendations for cancer screening for disease recurrence or a new cancer.
  • Psychosocial effects, including relationships and sexuality.
  • Planning follow-up visits.

Survivorship care plans encourage patients to review the information with their health care team and become active participants in their follow-up care.

Penn also offers gallbladder cancer patients a number of support programs and groups to enhance their survivorship care plans.

Patient Support Specialists

Every step of cancer treatment – from cancer diagnosis, to surgery and treatment to forming a survivorship plan – comes with different needs and issues that should be addressed.

Oncology Navigation Specialists at the Abramson Cancer Center are available to make a patient’s experience as seamless as possible. As experts in navigating complex health care situations, Patient Navigation specialists serve as a consistent point of contact and a reliable source for advice, support and direction for patients and families. They can help in a variety of ways including; provide emotional support, identify resources, and ensure access to information, support services, educational programs and community resources.

Learn more about patient navigation specialists at the Abramson Cancer Center.

Survivorship Programs at Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine’s Living Well After Cancer™ Program is a nationally recognized program that focuses on issues facing cancer survivors. In 2007, the Abramson Cancer Center was designated a LIVESTRONG ™ Survivorship Center of Excellence Network.  The Abramson Cancer Center is only one of eight LIVESTRONG centers in the United States, and is the only LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence in the Philadelphia region. The program focuses on survivorship, a distinct phase of care.

Prescription for Living: The Cancer Survivorship Program at the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, provides patients with a summary of important information about specific cancer diagnoses and treatments, as well as follow-up information and steps to take towards recovery, supportive care and education to help patients adjust to their lives as cancer survivors.

Continued Support

Penn offers cancer patients support programs and groups to enhance their survivorship care plans.

The Abramson Cancer Center and Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital provide materials and host a wide range of activities that provide education and support to address key areas of concern including survivorship for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Focus On: Gastrointestinal Cancers is a day-long conference that addresses issues for patients with gallbladder cancer, as well as their loved ones.


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Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

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