ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eat Light - Live Longer
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Climate Change Linked to Longer Pollen Seasons
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
FITNESS
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
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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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