What to Know About Chemotherapy for Gallbladder Cancer

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. To treat gallbladder cancer, the drugs are usually put into the body intravenously. That means there is a bag of medicine attached to a tube that allows the drugs to drip into a needle inserted into a vein in your arm.

Because chemotherapy enters the bloodstream, it is called a systemic treatment. That means the drugs travel through the whole body killing cancer cells — not just ones in the gallbladder. The combination of 2 drugs, cisplatinum and gemcitabine, has shown the best survival in patients with metastatic or unresectable gallbladder cancer.

If you’re having radiation treatment for gallbladder cancer, you may also have chemotherapy. The drugs help make the cancer cells more sensitive to radiation.