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Formerly Rare Gallbladder or Bile Duct Cancer on the Rise

THE GROWING health burden of gallbladder and biliary tract cancer (GBTC) is evident in a recent study that provided details for estimates and trends in GBTC based on an analysis spanning 27 years by Dr Guoqing Ouyang and colleagues from Liuzhou People’s Hospital, Liuzhou, China. The study authors acknowledged that cancers occurring in the gallbladder or bile ducts are relatively rare worldwide but the prognosis, which varies according to the type of cancer, is very poor, and the burden of disease has increased.

In this systematic analysis, incidence rates, mortality, and disability-adjusted life years for GBTC across 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2017 were extracted from the Global Burden of Diseases Study (GBD) 2017. Estimated annual changes were calculated to quantify GBTC trends for the duration of the study. The results suggested that between 1990 and 2017, GBTC incidence increased by 76%, mortality increased by 65%, and disability-adjusted life years increased by 52%. The researchers also estimated that in 2017 there were 210,878 new cases, 173,974 deaths, and 3,483,046 disability-adjusted life years (the number of years lost from ill-health, disability, or early death) of GBTC globally. High BMI was thought to have contributed to 20.6% and 8.1% of GBTC-related deaths in females and males, respectively.

“GBTC remains a major health burden worldwide. Our findings may be valuable for policymakers to establish cost-effective methods for the early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of GBTC, reducing its modifiable risk factors, and reversing the increasing trend,” the authors explained. The results of this study can help to guide research priorities and policies for prevention and treatment in different global regions.