Can Bladder Cancer Be Cured
When detected at an early stage, bladder cancer can usually be treated successfully whereas later-stage cancers may present greater challenges for the patient and their healthcare team. As discussed later, people who have had bladder cancer are at risk for recurrence for the best chance of successfully treating recurrent cancer, early detection is again important.
Signs And Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer
Sometimes bladder cancer doesnt have many symptoms. Signs or symptoms can include:
- blood in your urine
- pain or burning when passing urine
- not being able to pass urine when you need to.
Not everyone with these symptoms has bladder cancer. If you have any of these symptoms or are worried, always see your doctor.
Causes Of Bladder Cancer
Most cases of bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to harmful substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder’s cells over many years.
Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it’s estimated that more than 1 in 3 cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking.
Contact with certain chemicals previously used in manufacturing is also known to cause bladder cancer. However, these substances have since been banned.
Read more about the causes of bladder cancer.
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Subtleties And Future Questions
Several factors have to be carefully considered in interpreting the trial results, explained Dr. Apolo.
A major one is that the study did not directly compare survival between people who got avelumab immediately versus when their cancer progressed. Only about half of the participants who initially received supportive care alone went on to receive immunotherapy after their cancer got worse. There could be many reasons for this, including lack of access to these drugs in different countries, Dr. Apolo said.
But it also might be that, for some people, the cancer was progressing too rapidly, she added. When these tumors start growing, they start growing very quickly. So if you wait to start at the time of progression, maybe its too late, added Dr. Apolo.
Not all patients will be caught by the second-line safety net, agreed Dr. Plimack.
So, for now, said Dr. Balar, the takeaway message from the JAVELIN study is after chemotherapy, dont wait to give immunotherapy.
But more and more, studies are looking at whether some patients should receive immunotherapy as first-line treatment, he continued. Immunotherapy is one of the most important advances weve made in the last 30 years, Dr. Balar said.
The JAVELIN results cant provide any insight into which patients benefit from first-line treatment with a platinum-based chemotherapy, he added. This trial wasnt designed to ask: Is chemotherapy necessarily the best choice for every patient? he explained.
How Long Will You Live If You Have Bladder Cancer
The survival rate depends on the stage of cancer at diagnosis and other health issues.
Overall, 70 to 90 percent of people with localized bladder cancer will live for at least five years or more. The physician calculates this with the help of survival rates. Survival rates indicate the percentage of people who live with a certain type of cancer for a specific time. The physician often uses an overall five-year survival rate. Factors that may affect survival rate include
Table. Five-year survival rates of different stages of bladder cancer
|Bladder cancer SEER stages||Five-year relative survival rate|
|In situ alone||96|
|All SEER stages combined||77|
The surveillance, epidemiology, and end results stages are taken from the SEER database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute. SEER database groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages.
- Localized: There is no indication that cancer has spread outside the bladder.
- Regional: Cancer has invaded the nearby structures or lymph nodes.
- Distant: Cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, or bones.
Thus, bladder cancer, if detected in the early stage is treatable and has higher survival rates. However, if the cancer is detected in the advanced stages, treatment becomes difficult and the survival rate is low.
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Substantial Improvement In Survival
Dr. Powles and his colleagues enrolled 700 people with locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer in the international JAVELIN Bladder 100 study, which was funded by Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer.
All trial participants had already received chemotherapywith either cisplatin and gemcitabine or carboplatin and gemcitabine, if their health did not allow them to receive cisplatinand their disease had not worsened during chemotherapy.
Participants were then randomly assigned to receive either maintenance treatment with avelumab plus supportive care or supportive care alone. People in the maintenance group received infusions of avelumab every 2 weeks until their cancer started growing again or they left the study for other reasons. Supportive care for both groups included pain management, nutritional support, and treatment of infections.
People in the supportive care group whose cancer got worse did not receive avelumab as part of the trial. However, they could receive it or any other immunotherapy drug after leaving the study.
Maintenance treatment with avelumab after chemotherapy turned out to have substantial benefits. The median overall survival for people who received maintenance avelumab was more than 21 months, compared with about 14 months for people who received only supportive care until their cancer got worse.
Survival For All Stages Of Bladder Cancer
Generally, for people diagnosed with bladder cancer in England:
- around 75 out of every 100 survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
- almost 55 out of every 100 survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
- around 45 out of every 100 survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis
Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019Office for National Statistics
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.
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Factors Influencing Survival Rates
The variability in survival rates highlights one key reality about stage 4 lung cancer: no two people have the same disease. Arguably more than any other stage of the disease, stage 4 lung cancer survival is influenced by multiple factors, some of which are fixed and others of which can be changed .
There are seven factors known to influence survival times in people with stage 4 NSCLC.
Bladder Cancer Clinical Trials
What about Clinical Trials?
You may hear about clinical trials for your bladder cancer. Clinical trials are research studies that test if a new treatment or procedure is safe and effective.
Through clinical trials, doctors find new ways to improve treatments and the quality of life for people with disease. Trials are available for all stages of cancer. The results of a clinical trial can make a major difference to patients and their families. Please visit our clinical trials research webpage to learn more.
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How Do You Prevent Bladder Cancer
Unfortunately, there is no one way to prevent bladder cancer. Some things like age, race, gender and genetics or family history cant be controlled. However, people can take steps to reduce their risk.
Tips for bladder cancer prevention include:
- Quit or dont start smoking
- Limit chemical exposure on the job
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
Michelle Llamas has been writing articles and producing podcasts about drugs, medical devices and the FDA for nearly a decade. She focuses on various medical conditions, health policy, COVID-19, LGBTQ health, mental health and womens health issues. Michelle collaborates with experts, including board-certified doctors, patients and advocates, to provide trusted health information to the public. Some of her qualifications include:
- Member of American Medical Writers Association and former Engage Committee and Membership Committee member
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
- Original works published or cited in The Lancet, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal for Palliative Medicine
- Patient Advocacy Certificate from University of Miami
Bladder Cancer And Its Stages
Bladder cancer is a disease that can have varying symptoms and severity according to its stage. The estimated life expectancy of people who are diagnosed with bladder cancer is dependent on their condition and treatment.
The stages of bladder cancer have different levels of effects to the patient. Although living with bladder cancer can be difficult and challenging, do not lose hope as some of the stages of bladder cancer can be treated.
If people with bladder cancer receive treatment early on the first stage of cancer, the symptoms can be neutralized. The stages of bladder cancer usually depend on the formation of cancer in other parts of the body. If the first stage is managed early, the spread of cancer can be stopped.
Bladder Reconstructions And Stomas
If you have had your bladder removed, the way you pass urine will change. There are several options that your treatment team will talk to you about:
- Urostomy is where doctors create a new hole in your abdomen called a stoma. Urine drains from the stoma to the outside of your abdomen into a special bag.
- Neobladder is where a new bladder made from your small bowel forms a pouch inside your body to store urine. You will pass urine by squeezing your abdominal muscles. You will also pass a small tube into the neobladder each day to help drain the urine.
- Continent urinary diversion is a pouch made from your small bowel inside your body to store urine. The urine empties through a hole called a stoma to the outside of your abdomen into a special bag.
A bladder reconstruction is a big change in your life. You can speak with a continence or stomal therapy nurse for help, support and information. You can also call Cancer Council (. You may be able to speak with a trained Cancer Council volunteer who has had cancer for tips and support. If you find it difficult to adjust after your bladder reconstruction, it may help to be referred to a psychologist or counsellor.
Note: If you have a stoma, you can join a stoma association for support and free supplies. For more information about stoma associations, visit the Australian Council of Stoma Associations.
When Metastatic Cancer Can No Longer Be Controlled
If you have been told your cancer can no longer be controlled, you and your loved ones may want to discuss end-of-life care. Whether or not you choose to continue treatment to shrink the cancer or control its growth, you can always receive palliative care to control the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment. Information on coping with and planning for end-of-life care is available in the Advanced Cancer section of this site.
How Do Bladder Cancer Survival Rates Differ By Disease Stage
Staging of bladder cancer provides information on the extent of cancer in the body and whether the cancer has spread beyond the bladder this information helps predict how likely the cancer will respond to treatment.
Approximately half of bladder cancers are found at an early stage, when the cancer is in the surface layer of the bladder only .12 About one third of bladder cancers have spread to the deeper layers of the bladder wall but are still only in the bladder the remainder of cancers have spread into nearby tissues or lymph nodes or, rarely, to distant parts of the body.
The 5-year survival rate for bladder cancer varies by stage of the disease at diagnosis, which emphasizes the importance of detecting bladder cancer at an early stage.13
Note: In situ = cancer is confined to the surface layer of the bladder Localized = cancer has not spread outside of the bladder Regional = cancer has spread to nearby structures or lymph nodes Distant = cancer has spread to distant parts of the body
How Does Recurrence Of Bladder Cancer Affect Survival Rate
Recurrent bladder cancer is cancer that has returned after initial treatment. Recurrence rates for bladder cancer depend on the stage of the original tumor, with 5-year recurrence rates of approximately 65% in patients with non-invasive or in situ tumors and 73% in patients with slightly more advanced disease at first diagnosis.16
Many patients with non-invasive bladder cancer have recurrences that are typically not life threatening however, the prognosis is generally worse if the disease has spread into deeper layers of the bladder wall or beyond to the lymph nodes or other organs.
Causes And Risk Factors
Researchers dont know exactly what causes bladder cancer, but they do know what increases the risk of getting it. These risk factors range from family history to certain types of medication.
Data published in 2021 on MedRxiv by researchers from the online pharmacy Valisure and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center showed patients who took Zantac had elevated diagnosis rates of bladder, breast, prostate and thyroid cancer.
Patients should keep in mind that this data suggests a link between ranitidine and increased risk, but it doesnt prove that all people who take ranitidine will get bladder cancer.
Living With Advanced Cancer
Advanced cancer usually means cancer that is unlikely to be cured. Some people can live for many months or years with advanced cancer. During this time palliative care services can help.
Most people continue to have treatment for advanced cancer as part of palliative care, as it helps manage the cancer and improve their day-to-day lives. Many people think that palliative care is for people who are dying but palliative care is for any stage of advanced cancer. There are doctors, nurses and other people who specialise in palliative care.
Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or another type of treatment. It can help in these ways:
- slow down how fast the cancer is growing
- shrink the cancer
- help you to live more comfortably by managing symptoms, like pain.
Treatment depends on:
- how far it has spread
- your general health
Who Is Affected
About 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year and it’s the 11th most common cancer in the UK.
The condition is more common in older adults, with most new cases diagnosed in people aged 60 and above.
Bladder cancer is also more common in men than in women, possibly because in the past, men were more likely to smoke and work in the manufacturing industry.
Page last reviewed: 01 July 2021 Next review due: 01 July 2024
What Are The 5
In 2020, approximately 17,980 deaths in the United States are predicted to be attributed to bladder cancer1. This represents the eighth most common cause of cancer deaths in men.
The general 5-year survival rate for people with bladder cancer is 77%, while the 10-year survival rate is 70% and the 15-year survival rate is 65%1. Notably, as each patient and cancer are different, it is not possible to definitely know the disease course for an individual patient.
What Is Metastatic Cancer
Cancer that spreads from where it started to a distant part of the body is called metastatic cancer. For many types of cancer, it is also called stage IV cancer. The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is called metastasis.
When observed under a microscope and tested in other ways, metastatic cancer cells have features like that of the primary cancer and not like the cells in the place where the metastatic cancer is found. This is how doctors can tell that it is cancer that has spread from another part of the body.
Metastatic cancer has the same name as the primary cancer. For example, breast cancer that spreads to the lung is called metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer. It is treated as stage IV breast cancer, not as lung cancer.
Sometimes when people are diagnosed with metastatic cancer, doctors cannot tell where it started. This type of cancer is called cancer of unknown primary origin, or CUP. See the Carcinoma of Unknown Primary page for more information.
Expectancy And Survival Rates
An expectancy rate can be termed as the same as survival rate. However, a survival rate can be given in terms of a certain duration of time, whereas an expectancy rate is mostly in terms of a person’s whole life. Bladder cancer is a disease that affects many people differently. Hence, determining its expectancy rate can be difficult. Nevertheless, looking at the disease’s survival rate can give the right answers.
Survival rates are figures that give you how many people have survived with a certain similar disease after diagnosis and for how long. Through this, one can be able to estimate the expectancy rate of a person living with the disease.
In the case of bladder cancer, it happens in stages, which means that every stage has a different effect on the patient.
Prognosis And Survival Rates For Bladder Cancer
When someone is diagnosed with bladder cancer, their doctor will give them a prognosis. A prognosis is the doctors opinion of how likely the cancer will spread and the chances of getting better. A prognosis depends on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the persons age and general health.
Bladder cancer can usually be effectively treated if it is found before it spreads outside the bladder.
If you have bladder cancer, your doctor will talk to you about your individual situation when working out your prognosis. Every persons experience is different, and there is support available to you.
Treatment Of Bladder Cancer By Stage
Most of the time, treatment of bladder cancer is based on the tumors clinical stage when it’s first diagnosed. This includes how deep it’s thought to have grown into the bladder wall and whether it has spread beyond the bladder. Other factors, such as the size of the tumor, how fast the cancer cells are growing , and a persons overall health and preferences, also affect treatment options.