In stage IIIA, cancer has spread through the thin layers of tissue that cover the gallbladder and/or to the liver and/or to one nearby organ (such as the stomach, small intestine, colon, pancreas, or bile ducts outside the liver).
In stage IIIB, cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and:
- beyond the inner layer of the gallbladder to a layer of tissue with blood vessels or to the muscle layer; or
- beyond the muscle layer to the connective tissue around the muscle; or
- through the thin layers of tissue that cover the gallbladder and/or to the liver and/or to one nearby organ (such as the stomach, small intestine, colon, pancreas, or bile ducts outside the liver).
In stage IVA, cancer has spread to a main blood vessel of the liver or to 2 or more nearby organs or areas other than the liver. Cancer may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
In stage IVB, cancer has spread to either:
- lymph nodes along large arteries in the abdomen and/or near the lower part of the backbone; or
- to organs or areas far away from the gallbladder.
For gallbladder cancer, stages are also grouped according to how the cancer may be treated. There are two treatment groups:
Localized (Stage I)
Cancer is found in the wall of the gallbladder and can be completely removed by surgery.
Unresectable, recurrent, or metastatic (Stage II, Stage III, and Stage IV)
Unresectable cancer cannot be removed completely by surgery. Most patients with gallbladder cancer have unresectable cancer.
Recurrent cancer is cancer that has recurred (come back) after it has been treated. Gallbladder cancer may come back in the gallbladder or in other parts of the body.
Metastasis is the spread of cancer from the primary site (place where it started) to other places in the body. Metastatic gallbladder cancer may spread to surrounding tissues, organs, throughout the abdominal cavity, or to distant parts of the body.