Advanced bladder cancer means the cancer has spread from where it started in the bladder to another part of the body.
Your cancer might be advanced when it is first diagnosed. Or it may have come back some time after you finished treatment. This is called recurrent or relapsed cancer.
Where it can spread to
Not all bladder cancers will spread. But If it does it's most likely to spread to the structures close to the bladder, such as the ureters, urethra, prostate, vagina, or into the pelvis. This is called local spread.
Bladder cancer can also spread to another part of the body. This is secondary cancer or metastasis. The places it's most likely to spread to are your:
- lymph nodes in the pelvis and tummy (abdomen)
How you might feel
Finding out that you can’t be cured is distressing and can be a shock. It’s common to feel uncertain and anxious. It's normal to not be able to think about anything else.
Lots of information and support is available to you, your family and friends. It can help to find out more about your cancer and the treatments you might have. Many people find that knowing more about their situation can make it easier to cope.
Talk to your doctor or nurse to understand:
- what your diagnosis means
- what is likely to happen
- what treatment is available
- how treatment can help you
Treatment can slow down advanced bladder cancer for some time and help to reduce your symptoms.
Many people want to know what the outlook is and how their cancer will develop. This is different for each person. Your cancer specialist has all the information about you and your cancer. They're the best person to discuss this with.
You can also talk to your specialist nurse.