How does gallbladder cancer affect the body?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Gallbladder cancer can affect the body in a number of ways. If the bile duct, which connects the gallbladder to the intestines, becomes blocked by the cancer, then bilirubin, one of the components of bile, can build up in the bloodstream. This can lead to jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the eyes, tongue and skin. Bilirubin accounts for the coloring of stool, so when it is unable to reach the intestines due to blockage in the biliary system, stools may be clay colored. Urine may become darker as the excess bilirubin that is unable to reach the intestines builds up in the bloodstream and is excreted by the kidneys. The blockage of bile may also cause the gallbladder to expand, in which case a mass may form in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen.

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