Dear friend recently diagnosed

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Hello. A dear friend of mine (male, age 49, super fit) has recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 gallbladder (adenocarcinoma) cancer. This has come completely out of the blue, after abdominal pain and jaundice. It is inoperable and is in the bile duct as well. He has had a metal stent put in. I am doing what research I can independently as he and his partner are in shock and do not really want to start reading things on the internet at the moment -t hey have 2 young kids. However, the research I have done for this scenario looks quite bleak, but I wonder if the stats are simply skewed by age? At the moment he has not asked for a life-expectancy prognosis, but I think it would be helpful for me to know the truth. I have heard a few (very few it has to be said) amazing survivor stories, but there seems no rhyme or reason to them? 

I have some questions about 2 sorts of treatments which seem very new: Dendritic immunotherapy and FOLFIRINOX (chemo combination). Does anyone have any experience of these? I believe the first one can be quite expensive but sounds promising. 

Thank you all 


  • Hi Rob,

    im so sorry to hear of your friends diagnosis, it really is sad to hear of another young one getting this news. I can’t add much in way of information regarding new treatments but my story is this… incidental gallbladder cancer was found after I had gallstones and my gallbladder removed (aged 46), I went on to have a liver resection and 6 months of chemotherapy (GEMCIS) this was in 2016. At my 5 year scan another couple of tumours were found in my abdomen and I was lucky to be a candidate for surgery, that was in December 2020, I went on to have chemotherapy again in 2021 and I’m now classed as NED but incurable, I too am stage 4. There really is no rhyme or reason for gallbladder cancer, I know my consultants all tell me my adenocarcinoma hasn’t acted in a way they expect to see and therefore it’s all hit and hope.  All I would suggest is that you keep researching and bringing any new information to light to his team when he is ready to hear it. 


  • Hi Colette, thanks so much for your kind reply. The key does seem to be surgery. Which they have said is not an option. But I am still hoping the chemo will shrink the tumor(s) till resection is possible. Thank you, Rob 

  • The combination I had gemcitibine and cisplatin was pretty successful in other areas in shrinking tumours, the thinking was in my case that if it can shrink tumours it may be worth using it to clear up any cells left after surgery. I hope your friend can get some treatment and it’s successful enough to reduce his tumour to get it out.