Survival depends on many different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. It depends on your:
- type and stage of cancer
- level of fitness
- previous treatment
These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
Survival for all stages combined
Survival for gallbladder cancer depends on how advanced the cancer is when it is diagnosed (the stage of the cancer). Unfortunately gallbladder cancer is often diagnosed in the later stages when treatment is unlikely to cure it.
Generally, for people with gallbladder cancer in England:
- almost 45 out of 100 people (almost 45%) survive gallbladder cancer for at least 1 year
- more than 15 out of 100 people (more than 15%) are predicted to survive gallbladder cancer for at least 5 years
- 15 out of 100 people (15%) are predicted to survive gallbladder cancer for at least 10 years
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
These figures are for people diagnosed in England between 2009 and 2013.
Five and ten year survival is predicted using a mathematical model using 1 year survival statistics from patients diagnosed with gallbladder cancer during 2009-2013 in England.
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.
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.
For more in-depth information about survival and gallbladder, go to our cancer statistics section.
Taking part in clinical trials can help to improve the outlook for people with gallbladder cancer.