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People with gallbladder cancer may have questions about their prognosis and survival. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with a person's medical history, type of cancer, stage, characteristics of the cancer, treatments chosen and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.
A prognosis is the doctor's best estimate of how cancer will affect a person, and how it will respond to treatment. A prognostic factor is an aspect of the cancer or a characteristic of the person that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. A predictive factor influences how a cancer will respond to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictive factors are often discussed together and they both play a part in deciding on a treatment plan and a prognosis.
The following are prognostic factors for gallbladder cancer.
The stage of gallbladder cancer is the most important factor in determining prognosis. People with early stage gallbladder cancer have a better prognosis than those with advanced gallbladder cancer. Only about 10% of people with gallbladder cancer present with early stage disease. Most people with gallbladder cancer have advanced disease when they are diagnosed.
Surgery is the most effective treatment for gallbladder cancer. However, complete removal of the tumour is possible only in about 25% of people with gallbladder cancer.
Papillary adenocarcinomas have a more favourable prognosis than other types of gallbladder cancer.
Gallbladder tumours that are slow growing (low grade) have a more favourable prognosis than fast growing (high-grade) tumours.