Read detailed information about survival with bladder cancer.
Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your individual condition, type of cancer, treatment and level of fitness. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live.
These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.
Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).
Survival by stage of bladder cancer
No UK-wide statistics are available for different stages of bladder cancer or for individual treatments.
Survival statistics are available for each stage of bladder cancer in one area of England. These figures are for men and women diagnosed between 2002 and 2006.
Around 90 out of 100 men (around 90%) and almost 90 out of 100 women (almost 90%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
Stage 1 means that the cancer has started to grow into the connective tissue beneath the bladder lining.
Almost 50 out of 100 men (almost 50%) and 30 out of 100 women (30%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Stage 2 means that the cancer has grown through the connective tissue layer into the muscle of the bladder wall.
Around 30 out of 100 men (around 30%) and more than 15 out of 100 women (more than 15%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
Stage 3 means that the cancer has grown through the muscle into the fat layer. It may have spread outside the bladder to the prostate, womb or vagina.
Around 10 out of 100 men and women (around 10%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Stage 4 means that the cancer has spread to the wall of the abdomen or pelvis, the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. If bladder cancer does spread to another part of the body, it is most likely to go to the bones, lungs or liver.
Survival for all stages of bladder cancer
Generally, for people diagnosed with bladder cancer in England and Wales:
- more than 70 out of every 100 (more than 70%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
- more than 50 out of every 100 (more than 50%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
- around 50 out of every 100 (around 50%) survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis
What affects survival
Your outlook depends on the stage of the cancer when it is diagnosed. This means whether the cancer is just in the bladder lining or whether it has spread into the muscle wall of the bladder or beyond.
The type of bladder cancer can affect your likely survival. And the grade of the cancer may also be important. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.
Most bladder cancers are diagnosed when they are still only in the bladder lining. These are called early bladder cancers. The outlook for early bladder cancers depend on several factors, including:
- exactly how far the cancer cells have gone into the bladder lining
- the number of tumours
- the diameter of the tumours
- how abnormal the cancer cells look under the microscope (the grade)
- whether CIS (high grade changes in the bladder lining) is present
- whether this a recurrence and how often a tumour has recurred
Your doctor looks at all these factors. They use them to decide whether there is a low, medium (intermediate) or high risk of the cancer coming back or spreading into the muscle of the bladder. Your doctor will be able to tell you about your risk group and how this affects your outcome.
Taking part in clinical trials can help to improve the outlook for people with bladder cancer.
You can read more statistics on survival rates and other factors for bladder cancer in our Cancer Statistics section.
About these statistics
The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer.
These statistics are for relative survival. Relative survival takes into account that some people die of causes other than cancer. This gives a more accurate picture of cancer survival.