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 people 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.

When discussing cancer survival statistics, doctors often use a number called the 5-year survival rate. 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 some people with gallbladder cancer may die from other causes. These survival rates do not take other causes of death into account.

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 better outlook for people now being diagnosed with gallbladder cancer.

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 that the statistics may be different 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 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%

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they can’t predict what will happen with any particular person. Many other factors can also affect a person’s outlook, such as their age and overall health, and how well the cancer responds to treatment. Even when taking these other factors into account, survival rates are at best rough estimates. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers above apply to you, as he or she knows your situation best.


Last Medical Review: 10/29/2014
Last Revised: 10/29/2014