ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Know Your Asthma Triggers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Breast-feeding Might Shield Women From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
CANCER
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Healthy Living Adds Years to Life
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
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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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