Tests and next steps for gallbladder cancer
Tests for gallbladder cancer
You'll need more tests and scans to check for gallbladder cancer if the GP refers you to a specialist.
These tests can include:
- blood tests
- scans, like an ultrasound scan (sometimes from inside your body using an endoscope), CT scan, PET scan, MRI scan, or a type of X-ray called a cholangiography
- collecting a small sample of cells from the gallbladder (called a biopsy) to be checked for cancer
- a small operation to look inside your tummy, called a laparoscopy
- a test called an ERCP – find out more about ERCP from Cancer Research UK
You may not have all these tests.
These tests can also help find problems in other nearby organs, such as your bile ducts, pancreas or liver.
Getting your results
It can take several weeks to get the results of your tests.
Try not to worry if your results are taking a long time to get to you. It does not definitely mean anything is wrong.
You can call the hospital or GP if you're worried. They should be able to update you.
A specialist will explain what the results mean and what will happen next. You may want to bring someone with you for support.
If you're told you have gallbladder cancer
Being told you have gallbladder cancer can feel overwhelming. You may be feeling anxious about what will happen next.
Gallbladder cancer is sometimes found when you're having an operation to remove your gallbladder.
This might be because you have another condition, such as gallstones.
You might have been having tests and scans after being referred to a specialist by a GP.
A group of specialists will look after you throughout your diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
Your team will include a clinical nurse specialist who will be your main point of contact during and after treatment.
You can ask them any questions you have.
Macmillan Cancer Support has a free helpline that's open every day from 8am to 8pm.
They're there to listen if you have anything you want to talk about.
Call 0808 808 00 00
If you're told you have gallbladder cancer, the specialists will use the results of some of the tests and scans to help find out the size of the cancer and how far it's spread (called the stage).
You may need to have more tests done.
The specialists will use the results of these tests and work with you to decide on the best treatment plan for you.
Find out more
Page last reviewed: 13 June 2023
Next review due: 13 June 2026