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Gallbladder cancer

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Survival statistics for gallbladder cancer

Survival statistics for gallbladder cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person's chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for gallbladder cancer and what they mean to you.

Relative survival

Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

In Canada, a 5-year relative survival statistic is reported for gallbladder cancer. The 5-year relative survival for gallbladder cancer is 20%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with gallbladder cancer are 20% as likely to live 5 years after their diagnosis as people in the general population.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of gallbladder cancer. The following factors can also affect survival for gallbladder cancer.

  • Generally, the earlier gallbladder cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
  • The prognosis is better if the gallbladder cancer can be completely removed with surgery (is resectable).
  • The outcome is also better if the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Gallbladder cancer is usually not found until it is at an advanced stage, which makes it difficult to treat and means that people with gallbladder cancer typically have a poor prognosis.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of gallbladder cancer. The following information comes from a variety of sources and may include statistics from other countries.

The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of people who are alive at least 5 years after their cancer diagnosis. However, people may live much longer than 5 years.

Gallbladder cancer survival
Stage5-year survival















The median survival of people with advanced, unresectable gallbladder cancer is about 2–4 months. Median survival is the period of time (usually months or years) at which half of the people with cancer are still alive. The other half will live less than this amount of time.

Questions about survival

People with cancer should talk to their doctor about their prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • a person's medical history
  • type of cancer
  • stage
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • treatments chosen
  • response to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.


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