Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Survival Rate

Cancer survival rates are usually discussed in terms of 5-year relative survival, which refers to the proportion of patients still alive five years after diagnosis. Keep in mind that statistics like these are based on large groups of people and cannot predict what might happen with an individual patient. In addition, survival varies greatly according to the disease stage at diagnosis, such as:

  • Localized — no cancer is found outside the gallbladder or bile ducts
  • Regional — cancer has spread outside the gallbladder or bile ducts to nearby lymph nodes or structures
  • Distant — cancer has spread to distant areas of the body, such as the lungs

Gallbladder Cancer Survival Rate

In the United States, national data shows that 19% of people diagnosed with gallbladder cancer are alive after five years, but survival varies greatly depending on the disease stage at diagnosis. Early stage disease, where the cancer is still confined to the gallbladder has a relative survival rate of 62%. Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 cases are detected at that early stage.

According to data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program, gallbladder cancer survival by stage:

  • Localized                               62%
  • Regional                                 27%    
  • Distant                                    2%                  

Cholangiocarcinoma Survival Rate

Survival rates for bile duct cancers are different depending on where the cancer began: Intrahepatic (the bile ducts within the liver) or Extrahepatic (the bile ducts outside the liver).

Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

In the United States, overall 5-year relative survival for intrahepatic bile duct cancer is 8%, according to data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program; survival rates by stage:

  • Localized                               24%
  • Regional                                 7%      
  • Distant                                    2%                  

Extrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

In the United States, overall 5-year relative survival for extrahepatic bile duct cancer is 10%, according to data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program; survival rates by stage:

  • Localized                               15%
  • Regional                                 16%    
  • Distant                                    2%