Gallbladder cancer is the most serious consequence of untreated gallbladder disease. It is believed that most cases of gallbladder cancer are caused by the chronic irritation of gallstones.
Gallbladder cancer usually causes no symptoms and is found incidentally at the time of routine gallbladder surgery. Roughly 1 in 100 cholecystectomies reveal an unsuspected case of cancer. Occasional patients will have their first symptom be the development of jaundice as the cancer invades and blocks the bile ducts.
Most cases of gallbladder cancer are incurable. Many cases, however, would be preventable if diseased gallbladders were removed sooner rather that too late.