Gallbladder cancer can sometimes be diagnosed as a result of gallstones or gallbladder inflammation, or during surgical treatments for the same, but most cases are not discovered until the patient presents with the symptoms, and the following tests may be performed to diagnose gallbladder cancer.
Physical Examination: A physical examination may include looking for lumps, discomfort, or fluid buildup in the abdomen. If there are any signs of jaundice, the eyes and skin should be examined.
Medical History: If the doctor feels the patient has gallbladder cancer, the doctor will take a thorough medical history to look for risk factors and symptoms that could indicate the malignancy.
Liver Function Test: Lab tests to determine the levels of bilirubin, albumin, liver enzymes such as alkaline phosphatase, AST, ALT, and GGT, as well as certain other substances in the blood, are known as liver function tests, and they can aid in the diagnosis of gallbladder cancer and related conditions, as well as liver or bile duct disease.
Imaging Tests: The doctor will advise you to get tests such as ultrasonography, MRI, CT scan, etc., to determine the nature of your tumor.
Tumor Marker Tests: The tumor marker test involves taking a blood sample and testing it for biomarkers that can be raised in the presence of a certain form of cancer.
Biopsy: Biopsy is not the preferred technique of diagnosis for gallbladder cancer because it entails removing cells from questionable areas and viewing them under a microscope. This is because, in the case of gallbladder cancer, it can spread the malignancy, and even if surgery is required, surgical biopsy is the preferred choice, as it involves examining cells retrieved during or after surgery.
Angiography: An angiogram is a type of X-ray that is used to examine a patient’s blood arteries. To delineate the blood vessels, a thin plastic tube is introduced into the artery and a small amount of contrast dye is injected. If the cancer has migrated beyond the gallbladder into the surrounding blood arteries, this can reveal tumors or obstructions in the blood vessels.
Laparoscopy: A laparoscope is a tiny tube with a light and a video camera that is introduced into the patient’s belly by a small incision to examine the gallbladder, liver, and adjacent organs, as well as perform a biopsy if cancer is suspected. Gallbladder cancer can also be diagnosed via laparoscopy to identify the stage and extent of the disease.
Cholangiography: This is an imaging test that determines whether the bile ducts are clogged, constricted, or dilated and is used to plan for gallbladder cancer surgery. Cholangiograms used to identify gallbladder cancer include magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC).