ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Coffee or Tea Consumption May Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
FITNESS
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
Maximize Your Run
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Add your Article

Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with gallbladder cancer are surviving longer than they used to, but the death rate is still high, new research shows.

An estimated 9,520 cases of gallbladder or bile duct cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2008, and about 3,340 people died of the disease, according to the study in the May issue of the Archives of Surgery.

The death rate is high, in part, because at the time of diagnosis, many patients already have advanced-stage disease and are not candidates for surgery. Resection, where the diseased portions of the organ are removed surgically, is the only means of curing it.

"Gallbladder cancer is characterized by locally aggressive behavior, with early spread to regional lymph nodes and distant dissemination," the authors wrote. "In addition, it recurs rapidly even after presumed curative resection."

Still, survival times for the disease, which affects women more frequently than men, have improved since the 1960s.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School identified 402 patients with gallbladder cancer at a university-affiliated center between 1962 and 2008. Of these, 260 underwent surgical exploration at the same institution and were included in the data analysis.

Patients were diagnosed during three periods: period A (1962 to 1979), period B (1980 to 1997) and period C (1998 to 2008).

Overall median survival improved from 3.5 months during period A to six months in period B to one year in period C.

Survival times were the longest among those whose disease was caught early. The median survival was 10.3 months for those diagnosed with stage 2 cancer, compared to 4.7 months for stage 3 disease and 4 months for stage 4.

"The survival of patients who presented with advanced-stage disease and who underwent palliative [treating symptoms only] procedures remained poor in all periods," with patients surviving a median of 1.9 months in the 1960s and 70s to 3.6 months in recent years.

Of the 260 cancer patients who had surgery to explore the extent of their disease, about 58 percent had the cancer surgically removed. Unresectable disease became less common over time (44.4 percent in periods A and B and 17.3 percent in period C).

Between January 1994 and March 2008, 6,881 laparoscopic cholecystectomies (procedures to remove gallstones) were performed at the same facility. Gallbladder cancer was found in 17 patients incidentally during these procedures.

"When gallbladder cancer is found incidentally during or after a cholecystectomy, aggressive resection should be performed either during the present operation or during a second operation," the authors wrote. "In our series, 56 percent of patients who underwent re-exploration [a second surgery] were found to have residual disease. Patients underwent re-exploration at a median of 41 days, similar to other series."

The authors said early detection and an aggressive surgical approach was currently the most effective way of increasing survival times.

"A better understanding of the molecular pathways contributing to the development of gallbladder cancer is needed to develop improved adjuvant therapies to increase overall survival," they wrote.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on gallbladder and bile duct cancer.



-- Jennifer Thomas



SOURCE: Archives of Surgery, news release, May 18, 2009

Last Updated: May 18, 2009

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