Bladder cancer

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Survival statistics for bladder cancer

Survival statistics for bladder cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for bladder cancer and what they mean to you.

Net survival

Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive the cancer.

In Canada, the 5-year net survival for bladder cancer is 73%. This means that, on average, about 73% of people diagnosed with bladder cancer will survive for at least 5 years.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of bladder cancer. Generally, the earlier bladder cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. In Canada, a high percentage of bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage (stage 0 or stage 1).

Survival by stage for bladder cancer is reported as 5-year relative survival. Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive (for at least 5 years) after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of bladder cancer. The following information is based on the US population, which is likely to have similar outcomes as in Canada.

Bladder cancer survival
Stage5-year relative survival

cancer is only in the inner lining of the bladder (non-invasive or stage 0)

95%

cancer is only in the deeper layers of the bladder wall (invasive and localized)

69%

cancer has spread to nearby areas, such as lymph nodes (regional)

35%

cancer has spread to other parts of the body (distant)

5%

Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage and grade
  • the size and number of tumours
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

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