Screening means testing people for early stages of a disease. This is before they have any symptoms. For screening to be useful the tests:

  • need to be reliable at picking up cancers
  • overall must do more good than harm to people taking part
  • must be something that people are willing to do

Screening tests are not perfect and have some risks. The screening programme should also be good value for money for the NHS.

Screening for gallbladder cancer

There is no UK screening programme for gallbladder cancer. Because it is a rare condition, too many people would have to have unnecessary tests. Screening everyone would be very expensive for each cancer found.

If you're at a high risk

Talk to your GP if you think you are at higher than average risk of gallbladder cancer.

You may be able to have:

  • regular checkups
  • ERCP test
  • endoscopic ultrasound

It's important to see the doctor if you develop any gallbladder cancer symptoms. This is the best way to find gallbladder cancer at the earliest stage, when it's most treatable.

  • Biliary cancer: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up. 
    Valle J W  (2016)
    Annals of Oncology 27 (supplement 5): v28-v37

  • Referral Guidelines for Suspected Cancers
    The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
    June 2015

  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    Tobias J and Hochhauser D
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

Last reviewed: 
02 Jan 2020

Related links