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Survival

Survival depends on many different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. It depends on your:

  • type and stage of cancer
  • level of fitness
  • previous treatment

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). You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival by stage of bladder cancer

There are no UK-wide statistics available for bladder cancer survival by stage.

Survival statistics are available for each stage of bladder cancer in England. These figures are for men and women diagnosed between 2013 and 2017.

Stage 1

Around 80 out of 100 people (around 80%) 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.

Stage 2 

Around 45 out of 100 people (around 45%) 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.

Stage 3

Around 40 out of 100 people (around 40%)  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.

Stage 4 

The statistics for stage 4 bladder cancer survival don’t take into account the age of the people with bladder cancer. Statistics that do take into account the age (age-standardised statistics) are not available.

Around 10 out of 100 people (around 10%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

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:

    • around 75 out of every 100 (around 75%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
    • almost 55 out of every 100 (almost 55%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
    • around 45 out of every 100 (around 45%) 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
    • how wide the tumours are
    • 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.

    Clinical trials

    Taking part in clinical trials can help to improve the outlook for people with bladder cancer.

    More statistics

    You can read more statistics on survival rates and other factors for bladder cancer in our Cancer Statistics section.

    About these statistics

    The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years. Some people live much longer than 5 years.

    Last reviewed: 
    04 Sep 2020
    Next review due: 
    01 Sep 2023
    • Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019
      Office for National Statistics

    • Bladder cancer survival statistics
      Cancer Research UK
      Accessed September 2020

    • AJCC Cancer Staging Manuel (8th Edition)
      American Joint Committee on Cancer
      Springer, 2017

    • The EUROCARE-5 study on cancer survival in Europe 1999-2007: Database, quality checks and statistical analysis methods
      S Rossi and others
      European Journal of Cancer, 2015. Volume 51, Pages 2104 - 2119

    • Bladder Cancer. Incidence, Mortality and Survival Rates in the United Kingdom.
      National Cancer Intelligence Network, 2013

    • European Guidelines on Non-muscle-invasive Bladder Cancer (TaT1 and CIS)
      M Babjuk and others
      European Association of Urology, Updated March 2017

    • Bladder cancer: ESMO Practice Guidelines for Diagnosis, treatment and follow-up
      J Bellmunt and others
      Annals of Oncology, 2014. Volume 25, Supplement 3, Pages 40-48