Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



There is no way to prevent gallbladder or bile duct cancers. However, you can lower your risk of gallbladder cancer by maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding tobacco.

Preventing and treating liver fluke infections may help to reduce the risk of bile duct cancer. To do this,

  • Cook or freeze freshwater fish from Asia before eating it.

  • Purchase shellfish only from reputable stores.

  • Take medication as prescribed if you are diagnosed with a liver fluke infection.

Preventing hepatitis may also reduce the risk of bile duct cancer. To do this

  • Practice safer sex by using condoms.

  • Do not inject illegal drugs. If you do, never share needles with anyone.

  • Ask your doctor about getting vaccines against hepatitis A and B. There is no vaccine against other forms of hepatitis.

If you have been exposed to someone with hepatitis A or B, talk to your doctor about getting the vaccine or an immunoglobulin shot as soon as possible.

If you have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis, you have an increased risk of gallbladder and bile duct cancers. Your doctor may evaluate you for these cancers during routine exams.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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