Bile Duct (Cholangiocarcinoma) Cancer

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Survival statistics for bile duct cancers

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person's prognosis (outlook). Some patients with cancer may want to know the survival statistics for people in similar situations, while others might not find the numbers helpful, or might even not want to know them. If you decide that you don’t want to know them, stop reading here and skip to the next section.

The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is diagnosed. Of course, many people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured).

Five-year relative survival rates assume that some people will die of other causes and compare the observed survival with that expected for people without the cancer. This is a better way to see the impact of the cancer on survival.

In order to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. Improvements in treatment since then may result in a more favorable outlook for people now being diagnosed with cancer.

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular person's case. Besides stage, many other factors may affect a person's outlook, such as the location of the cancer, whether or not it is resectable (removable by surgery), and a person's general health. It is also important to realize that because bile duct cancers are not common, accurate survival rates can be hard to determine. Your doctor is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation and can tell you how the numbers below may apply to you.

There are some important points to note about the survival rates below:

These statistics come from the National Cancer Institute's SEER program and are based on people diagnosed with bile duct cancer in the years 2000 to 2006. SEER does not separate these cancers by AJCC stage, but instead puts them into 3 groups: localized, regional, and distant. Localized is like AJCC stage I. Regional includes stages II and III. Distant means the same as stage IV.

Intrahepatic bile duct cancer

Stage

5-year relative survival

Localized

15%

Regional

6%

Distant

2%

Extrahepatic bile duct cancer

Stage

5-year relative survival

Localized

30%

Regional

24%

Distant

2%


Last Medical Review: 10/30/2013
Last Revised: 10/30/2013