Survival statistics for bladder cancer | Cancer Research UK
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Bladder cancer statistics and outlook

Outlook means what is likely to happen in the future. Your doctor may call this your prognosis. With bladder cancer, the likely outcome depends on whether the cancer is just in the bladder lining or whether it has spread into the muscle wall of the bladder or beyond. The grade can also be important. The grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.

We have quite detailed information below about the likely outcome of different stages of bladder cancer. The statistics are intended as a general guide only. For the more complete picture in your case, you’d have to speak to your own specialist.

We include statistics because people ask for them, but not everyone wants to read this type of information. If you don't want to read about the outlook for bladder cancer you can go back to the treating bladder cancer page.

How reliable are cancer statistics?

No statistics can tell you exactly what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people. The statistics cannot tell you about the different treatments people may have had, or how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. There are many individual factors that will affect your treatment and your outlook.


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Bladder cancer survival

Find out about bladder cancer survival.

People ask us for this information but not everyone with cancer wants to read it. If you are not sure whether you want to know at the moment, you can always come back to it later.

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. They can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.

No one can tell you exactly how long you’ll live with bladder cancer. It depends on your individual situation and treatment. No two patients are exactly alike and response to treatment also varies from one person to another.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis). Or you can talk to the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.


Survival by stage

No UK-wide statistics are available for different stages of bladder cancer or 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.

Stage 1

Around 90 out of 100 men (around 90%) and almost 90 out of 100 women (almost 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 2 

Almost 50 out of 100 men (almost 50%)  and 30 out of 100 women (30%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. 

Stage 3

Around 30 out of 100 men (around 30%) and more than 15 out of 100 women (more than 15%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 4 

Around 10 out of 100 men and women (around 10%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. 

Read more about the stages of bladder cancer.


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%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
  • more than 50 out of every 100 (more than 50%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
  • around 50 out of every 100 (around 50%) will 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 mans 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 the 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.


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. Many people live much longer than 5 years.

The survival statistics on this page are for relative survival. Relative survival takes into account that some people will die of causes other than cancer. This gives a more accurate picture of cancer survival.


More statistics

Read more about understanding cancer statistics and incidence, mortality and survival statistics

For more in-depth information about survival rates and other statistics for bladder cancer, go to our Cancer Statistics section.

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Updated: 30 April 2014