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Can I Survive Bile Duct Cancer? What Is My Prognosis?

Survival rates show the percentage of people with a certain type and stage of cancer who survive it for a certain period of time after they are diagnosed. A five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who are alive five years after they are diagnosed. These are the people it includes:

  • Those who are free of disease (there are no signs of cancer)

  • Those who have few or no signs or symptoms of cancer

  • Those who are being treated for cancer

Many people included in the five-year survival rate live much longer than five years after diagnosis. Also, because the statistic is based on people diagnosed and initially treated more than five years ago, it's possible that the outlook could be better today. People who are newly diagnosed often have a more favorable outlook. That is because of improvements in treatment.

Survival rates are based on large groups of people. They cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular person. No two people are exactly alike. Treatment and responses to treatment vary greatly.

Bile duct cancer treatment is most successful when the cancer is found in an early stage. When it is found early, people with bile duct cancer may have about a 15 to 30 percent chance of surviving for five years, depending on whether or not the cancer has spread beyond the liver. Only about 20 percent of bile duct cancers are found at an early stage. For this reason, most people with bile duct cancer have less than a 10 percent chance of surviving at least five years.


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