WalkOn Support
Next Meeting: March 14, 2016

Gall Bladder / Bile Duct
Cancer Awareness Month

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ under the liver. Both the liver and the gallbladder are behind the right lower ribs. In adults, the gallbladder is usually about 3 to 4 inches long and normally no wider than an inch. The gallbladder concentrates and stores bile, a fluid made in the liver. Bile helps digest the fats in foods as they pass through the small intestine. Bile is either released from the liver directly into ducts that carry it to the small intestine, or is stored in the gallbladder and released later. When food (especially fatty food) is being digested, the gallbladder contracts and releases bile through a small tube called the cystic duct. The cystic duct joins up with the common hepatic duct, which comes from the liver, to form the common bile duct. The common bile duct joins with the main duct from the pancreas (the pancreatic duct) to empty into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) at the ampulla of Vater. The gallbladder is helpful, but you do not need it to live. Many people have their gallbladders removed and go on to live normal lives.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for cancer of the gallbladder and nearby large bile ducts in the US for 2015 were: About 10,910 new cases diagnosed. Of these new cases, a little less than 4 in 10 (about 4,000 cases) will be gallbladder cancers. Gallbladder cancer is not usually found until it has become advanced and causes symptoms. Only about 1 of 5 gallbladder cancers is found in the early stages, when the cancer has not yet spread beyond the gallblad-der. The chances of survival for patients with gallbladder cancer depend to a large extent on how advanced it is when it is found.

In the US, gallbladder cancer occurs more than twice as often in women. Gallstones and gallbladder inflammation are important risk factors for gallbladder cancer and are also much more common in women than men.

Patients with gallbladder cancer are more often overweight or obese than people without this disease. Obesity is also a risk factor for gallstones, which might help explain this link.

The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 72. More than 2 out of 3 people with gallbladder cancer are 65 or older when it is found. In the US, the risk of developing gallbladder cancer is highest among Mexican Americans and Native Americans. They are also more likely to have gallstones than members of other ethnic and racial groups. The risk is lowest among African Americans.

For more information on this cancer please visit:

The American Cancer Society www.cancer.org
The National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov

Word of Encouragement


Cancer is such a scary word, no matter how it's spoken.

Peace of mind taken for granted, can be crushed and forever broken.

But together we could fight this!

It's an enemy from within us, striking oh so randomly.

Tomorrow it could be you, for yesterday it was me.

So together we should fight this!

While science is advancing, my heroes still are dying.

Some treatments just aren't working, but still we'll keep on trying.

And together we will fight this!

Research is the magic word, it's what we want to see.

Nothing less than a cancer cure, would mean so much to me.

For together we have fought this!

It'll take support from everyone, to really see this through.

So peace of mind for all of us, can start off fresh and new.

And together we will win!

© Copyright by Linda Nielsen

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SURVIVE: to live or last through; endure to live longer than; outlive; outlast
CANCER SURVIVOR: a person that has outlived, outlasted, endured through their disease.
The definition of survivor also includes family, friends and voluntary caregivers who are affected by the diagnosis in any way.