Bladder Cancer Survival Rates for Each Stage of the Disease

Page content

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is one of the more serious and common types of cancer. It is the fourth most common type for men and the eighth most common for women. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2010 there were approximately 70,530 estimated new cases and 14,680 deaths.

It is not known what causes cancer of the bladder, although smoking is the biggest risk factor. Exposure to some chemicals may have something to do with the development of this form of cancer for some people. Most people who are diagnosed with bladder cancer are over the age of 55.

Depending on the stage of the disease the prognosis for a cancer patient may or may not be that bad. What are the bladder cancer survival rates for each stage?

Relative Survival

Survival rates refer to the percentage of patients who survive for at least five years after the cancer has been discovered. Many people do live beyond five years. As of 2008, there were well over half a million people living who had at one point been diagnosed with cancer of the bladder. Information is based on National Cancer Institute Statistics.

  • Stage 0, also known as In Situ, is when cancer cells are found only in the tissue lining the inside of the bladder — 98 percent
  • Stage 1, the cancer has developed and spread to the next layer of tissue, beneath the inner layer — 88 percent
  • Stage 2, it has spread to the inner half or outer half of the wall of the bladder — 63 percent
  • Stage 3, the cancer has spread to the layer outside of the bladder and possibly to nearby reproductive organs — 46 percent
  • Stage 4, the cancer has spread beyond the bladder, possibly to the lymph nodes or other organs — 15 percent
  • Unknown, about 3 percent of cases are not staged, the relative five year survival rate for patients with an unknown stage is 49 percent.

These are relative bladder cancer survival rates based on the development of the disease. There are many other factors that play a role in the chance of survival of a patient, such as age and overall state of health. Even race and gender affect bladder cancer survival statistics (the relative survival for white men, 2001 to 2007, was 80 percent, for black men, 70 percent, for white women 74 percent and for black women, 54 percent). It is also important to understand that every individual will have a different experience with bladder cancer. Some people will respond well to treatment, while others will not have such as positive experience. Having an idea of general survival rates can give people an idea of what the chances of survival are, but the experience of each patient will remain unique.


National Cancer Institute.

American Cancer Society.

National Cancer Institute.