Bladder Cancer Survival Rates

Bladder cancer is amongst the most common types of cancers in the United States and every year almost 50,000 people are diagnosed with this type of cancer. The article provides a brief information on bladder cancer and its survival rates...
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: May 2, 2018
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer occurring in men, however, has the highest survival rate than any form of cancer. Bladder is a hollow, balloon-like, muscular organ, that stores urine produced by the kidney. Our bladder is formed from different groups of cells and hence, there are basically three types of bladder cancers: transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
Transitional cell carcinoma, as the name suggests is the bladder cancer where the transitional cells multiply and form tumors over the inner lining of bladder. Squamous cells are produced in the bladder when any infection or irritation occurs in the bladder, and squamous carcinoma is cancer of such cells. Adenocarcinoma is the cancer of cells that secrete mucus in the bladder.
Out of all these three types, transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer, accounting to about 90% of the bladder cancer cases. The other two bladder cancers are rarely observed, with about 8% accounting for squamous cell carcinoma, and a mere 1-2% accounting for adenocarcinoma. The symptoms of bladder cancer are quite similar to other urinary tract problems, such as frequent and painful urination, blood in the urine, urinary tract infection, etc. The causes of bladder cancer are not clear yet, but smoking and exposure to harmful chemicals are considered as some of the risk factors. Let us take a look at the survival rate of bladder cancer.
Survival Rates of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is more common in men as compared to women and every year, almost 38,000 men and 15,000 women are detected with bladder cancer in the United States. Caucasians have more susceptibility towards this cancer, however, the reason eludes the medical world.
The prognosis or survival rate of any form of cancer is the statistical analysis, representing the percentage of cancer patients that have been able to live despite the cancer, in a particular time frame. Generally for cancer, the survival rate is calculated on a five year basis. However, it is important to remember that this statistical data is only for reference and cannot be used to conclude how long a particular cancer patient will live.
Statistical data is derived by studying a large group of bladder cancer patients, however, cannot be used to predict the life expectancy of any patient. The year of study must also be taken into consideration, because outdated studies can be misleading. Bladder cancer survival rate will depend on various factors, such as type of bladder cancer, stage of cancer, age of the patient, overall health of the patient, response to treatment, etc. Each individual is different, and so will their life expectancy.
Since 75% bladder cancer cases are detected in the early stages, the prognosis of bladder cancer is higher, as compared to other cancers. Let's have a look at the survival rate.
Bladder Cancer Stage Survival Rate
Stage 0 98%
Stage 1 88%
Stage 2 63%
Stage 3 46%
Stage 4 15%

* Data is as per National Cancer Institute's SEER database.
Stage 0 & 1
In stage 0, the cancerous cells are still confined to the inner lining of the bladder, thus, can be treated effectively. 98% bladder cancer patients are said to live beyond the 5 year period. In stage 1, the cancerous cells have spread to the wall of the bladder. Treatment in this stage is effective, with 88% patients living beyond the 5 year period. However, the chances of recurrence is present, with about 15% patients facing recurrent cancer within the first year itself, and about 32% patients facing recurrent cancer anytime during the next 5 years. However, the recurrent one can be treated surgically.
Stage 2
In stage 2, the cancerous cells have spread to the bladder muscle but have not yet spread to the fatty tissues surrounding the bladder. 63 out of 100 bladder cancer patients are seen to have lived for at least 5 years.
Stage 3
In stage 3 bladder cancer, the cancerous cells invade the bladder muscle, and spread to the surrounding areas, such as the prostate glands in men and vagina or uterus in women. However, the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes as yet. This stage comes under the deep invasive stage of cancer, and needs to be controlled by treatment measures like partial or segmental cystectomy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. 46% bladder cancer patients have survived the 5-year mark.
Stage 4
In stage 4, the cancerous cells have spread beyond the bladder, into the abdominal wall. In severe cases of stage 4, the cancer would have spread to the lymph nodes, and in even more severe cases, has spread to different organs of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bone, etc. 30% of bladder cancer stages are the metastatic type, in which the cancer has originated in some other part of the body, and spread all the way to the bladder. In stage 4 surgery is not effective, thus, not carried out. Only about 15% live for the at least 5 years.
The problem with bladder cancer is that it has a recurrence percentage of 50-80%, even after successfully treating it. Thus, the patients need to have a regular follow-up with the physician. The recurrent bladder cancer survival rate is almost 39%. Survival rates are mere statistical analysis and the survival of a patient may not be governed by these numbers. Appropriate treatment, proper follow-up tests and precautions, can help the person to recover from bladder cancer.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.