ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
FITNESS
Run for Your Life
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At 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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