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Survival Rates For Gallbladder Cancer Improve

This article is more than 10 years old.

A new study out of Massachusetts General Hospital finds survival rates for people with gallbladder cancer are improving, but also found the disease remains fatal in more than a third of all cases.

The researchers looked at about 400 cases of gallbladder cancer since 1962. Patients diagnosed in the 1960s and 1970s only survived about three and a half months. Patients diagnosed in the past decade lived longer — but only for about one year.

Mass General's Cristina Ferrone, the study's senior author, says death rates are so high because gallbladder cancer is usually found at an advanced stage.

"In the last 10 to 15 years we have improved our ability to identify these patients," Ferrone explains. "But we still have a long way to go to offer these patients, hopefully, a survival of more than six to twelve months."

Ferrone says improved imaging techniques, such as CAT scans, could help detect gallbladder cancers sooner.

This program aired on May 19, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Sacha Pfeiffer Twitter Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.


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