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Bile Duct and Gallbladder Cancers

About Your Care and Condition

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located just underneath the liver. The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile, a fluid made by the liver that helps digest fats in the small intestine. The gallbladder contracts during digestion, releasing bile into the small intestine. 

Bile ducts within the liver join together to form one main bile duct, located immediately outside the liver, which carries bile to the small intestine. The main bile duct is called the common hepatic duct. The cystic duct joins the gallbladder to the common hepatic duct, and the combined duct is called the common bile duct. 

Gallbladder and bile duct cancers are relatively rare, there are about 9,500 new cases of diagnosed each year in the U.S.