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It’s a rare cancer; one that tends to affect women more than the men. More than 12,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with gallbladder cancer this year. And for most of those patients, four out of five, the disease will be diagnosed in the advanced stages.

The reason? The signs and symptoms of gallbladder cancer are mild and often ignored. Also, the gallbladder is located deep inside the body making tumors hard to find during routine exams.

The leading risk factor for gallbladder cancer is a history of gallstones, but there are many other factors that may lead to its formation. Here are some of the early warning signs to watch for:

  • Abdominal pain, especially in the upper right portion of the abdomen
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice, yellowing of the skin and white of the eyes
  • Sudden loss of weight

If you or a loved one have a history of gallstones or are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should speak to your physician.