Gallbladder Cancer

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Survival statistics for gallbladder cancer, by stage

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

The rates below are based on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. When looking at survival rates, it’s important to understand there may be different statistics for cancers that have come back or progressed during treatment. Still, the stage of a cancer does not change over time, even if the cancer progresses. A cancer that comes back or spreads is still referred to by the stage it was given when it was first found and diagnosed, but more information is added to explain the current extent of the cancer. (And of course, the treatment plan is adjusted based on the change in cancer status.)

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 of these people live much longer than 5 years and all of their deaths may not be caused by gallbladder cancer. These survival rates do not take other causes of death into account.

In order to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. Although the numbers below are among the most current we have available, improvements in treatment since then may result in a more favorable outlook for people now being diagnosed with gallbladder 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. Knowing the type and the stage of a person’s cancer is important in estimating their outlook. But many other factors may also affect a person’s outlook, such as how well the cancer responds to treatment and a person’s age and overall health. Even when taking these other factors into account, survival rates are at best rough estimates. Your doctor can tell you if the numbers below may apply, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.

The numbers below come from the American College of Surgeons/American Cancer Society National Cancer Data Base as published in the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual in 2010 and are based on more than 10,000 patients diagnosed with gallbladder cancer from 1989 to 1996.

Stage

5-Year Survival Rate

 

0

80%

I

50%

II

28%

IIIA

8%

IIIB

7%

IVA

4%

IVB

2%


Last Medical Review: 06/12/2013
Last Revised: 02/06/2014