The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ. Located beneath the liver, the gallbladder has a thin wall covered with an inner lining which is crossed by smooth muscle cells. It is connected to the liver, duodenum, and the bile duct by the cystic duct. Its main function is to store bile produced by the liver before going down into the small intestine to be used in digestion.
Gallbladder cancer develops when some healthy cells (in the gallbladder) undergo mutations in their DNA. The mutation causes them to multiply and grow abnormally and continue to live even when they normally should die (natural cell death). Although the cause of this cellular degeneration is not clear, the majority of medical researchers believe that many cases of cancer of the gallbladder may be associated with presence of stones for many years inside of the organ.
Whatever the cause of the disease, cancer of the gallbladder is a very serious disease that often leads to death.