What is the survival rate of a gallbladder cancer patient?

Q. What is the survival rate of a gallbladder cancer patient?

Answered by
Dr. Arshad Hussain Shah
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 06, 2018 and last reviewed on: Nov 02, 2022

Hi doctor,

My mother is diagnosed with gallbladder cancer. I would like to know the stage, chances of survival and the life expectancy.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have gone through the images (attachment removed to protect patient identity). The imaging is clearly showing a gallbladder tumor. There are different types of gallbladder tumors and the prognosis, outcome, and survival is different from one person to other. Here we do not know yet which type of gallbladder tumor it is. That will be known only after surgical removal of the tumor or after a surgical biopsy from the tumor.

The PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) is showing tumor is free from distant metastasis (spread). It looks stage-3 radiologically. But actual staging will be known after surgery (pathological staging). The most common type of gallbladder tumor is adenocarcinoma and the prognosis for adenocarcinoma gallbladder is usually poor except in early stages. It is usually a chemoresistant tumor.

The only curative treatment in these tumors is radical surgery (removal of the tumor along with gallbladder) if technically feasible. So, it is necessary to have a tissue confirmation of the diagnosis before commenting on survival and prognosis and actual staging.

Hello doctor,

I am attaching the biopsy report. Can you please suggest what it is? How and what is the best treatment here? Is it really diagnosable and what is the life expectancy? My mother never took so much of medicines, She is in stable health and no loss of weight. There is no jaundice or any other symptoms or sickness like diabetes. Do you expect the chemo will respond? Is it really curable?



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I have read your query and I can understand your concern. The biopsy report is clearly showing a malignant biliary tract tumor (adenocarcinoma of gallbladder versus cholangiocarcinoma). The radiological imaging and PET (positron emission tomography) scan is showing gallbladder tumor with local infiltration to the liver and lymph node metastasis, plus there is a suspicion of peritoneal metastasis.

For this kind of an aggressive tumor, the only curative option available is radical surgery, but not everyone is a candidate for surgery. If cancer has spread to other parts then it is locally advanced. In that case, surgery has little role to play. So, I will recommend you consult a hepatobiliary surgeon first and take his valuable opinion (give cure a chance). He can check laparoscopically and find out if peritoneal (abdominal) cavity is invaded by cancer or free of cancer. If it is free, he can try for radical removal of the tumor along with gallbladder and part of the liver (that is involved).

Chemotherapy has little role to play in this tumor. This tumor is usually resistant to chemotherapy. But if surgery is not possible, (that means poor prognosis) then, the only option left is chemotherapy with much less benefit.

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