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Survival

Read our information about survival for gallbladder cancer.

Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your individual condition, type of cancer, treatment and level of fitness. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. 

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival for gallbladder cancer

In the UK, no national statistics are available for the different stages of gallbladder cancer or for the different treatments that people have had.

Some of the statistics for outlook by stage presented here are international and might not accurately reflect UK statistics. They are gathered from various sources, including the opinions and experience of the experts who check our information.

Outlook by stage

Stage 0

If the cancer is only in the gallbladder lining (stage 0), 80 out of 100 people (80%) survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 1

If the cancer has spread into the muscle (stage 1 gallbladder cancer) only 50 in 100 people (50%) will survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed. 

Some surgeons believe that taking out nearby lymph nodes and some liver tissue during the operation helps stop the cancer coming back. They believe this will improve the long term outcome for people with stage 1 gallbladder cancer. This operation is called an extended cholecystectomy. 

Stage 2

Unfortunately the outlook is less good for people with stage 2 gallbladder cancer. More than 25 out of 100 people (more than 25%) will survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis. If you have an extended cholecystectomy or more extensive surgery, then you might have a slightly better chance of living longer than this.

Stage 3

In stage 3 gallbladder cancer the cancer has spread into surrounding tissue or lymph nodes and can't usually be removed. In this situation treatment can control the cancer for some time. 

Almost 10 out of 100 people (almost 10%) with stage 3 gallbladder cancer survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 4

Stage 4 gallbladder cancer means that the cancer has grown into one of the main blood vessels leading into the liver, or into lymph nodes or organs further away from the gallbladder.

Almost 5 out of 100 people (almost 5%) with stage 4 gallbladder cancer survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Survival for all stages combined

The outcome for gallbladder cancer depends on how advanced the cancer is when it is diagnosed (the stage of the cancer). Sadly, gallbladder cancer is often diagnosed in the later stages when treatment is unlikely to cure it.

1 year survival

In England, almost 50 out of 100 men (almost 50%) survive gallbladder cancer for at least 1 year. 

Almost 40 out of 100 women (almost 40%) survive gallbladder cancer for at least 1 year. 

5 year survival

In England, almost 20 out of 100 men (almost 20%) are predicted to survive gallbladder cancer for at least 5 years.

More than 15 out of 100 women (more than 15%) are predicted to survive gallbladder cancer for at least 5 years.

What survival means

The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer.

More statistics

For more in-depth information about survival and gallbladder, go to our cancer statistics section.

Clinical trials

Taking part in clinical trials can help to improve the outlook for people with gallbladder cancer.

Last reviewed: 
05 May 2017
  • American Joint Committee on Cancer Cancer Staging Manual (7th edition)
    AJCC, 2010 

  • Age-standardised incidence rates, one-and five year survival, all patients diagnosed with upper gastrointestinal cancers
    National Cancer Intelligence Network
    Public Health, England

  • Evidence-Based Gallbladder Cancer Staging: Changing Cancer Staging by Analysis of Data From the National Cancer Database
    Y Fong and others
    Annals of Surgery, 2006; 243(6): pages 767-774

  • Gallbladder cancer treatment information
    National Institute for Cancer, USA

  • Net survival and the probability of cancer death from rare cancers
    P Muller and others on behalf of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
    Accessed July 2016

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