Gallbladder Cancer

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Gallbladder Cancer

Gallbladder cancer is rare. It starts in the gallbladder, which is a small organ located under the liver. The gallbladder helps the digestive process by storing bile, a fluid made by the liver. Some people get gallstones (pieces of solid material that form in the gallbladder). Having gallstones increases the risk for getting gallbladder cancer, but most people with gallstones do not get gallbladder cancer. The causes of gallbladder cancer are not well known.

Key Findings

  • About 3,700 people got gallbladder cancer each year from 2007 through 2011.

  • Gallbladder cancer is more common among women (1.4 cases and 0.7 deaths per 100,000 women) than men (0.8 cases and 0.5 deaths per 100,000 men). Two-thirds of cases and deaths occurred among women.

  • American Indian and Alaska Native people had the highest gallbladder cancer incidence and death rates (3.2 cases and 1.6 deaths per 100,000 people).

  • Gallbladder cancer incidence rates went down among all racial and ethnic groups except non-Hispanic blacks. The incidence rate went up 2.2% per year among non-Hispanic black men and women.

  • About 43% of gallbladder cancers were found after the cancer spread to regional organs or lymph nodes, and 42% were found after spreading to distant organs or lymph nodes.

  • Gallbladder cancer incidence and death rates were highest in the Northeast and Midwest U.S. Census regions.

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