Bladder Cancer Survival Rates
The survival rates for a certain period of time depend on the number of people who are diagnosed and treated during the same period of time. The following are some of the data on the survival rates of people who have been treated and lived for a different number of years:
- For patients treated five years ago, the survival rate is estimated to be at 77%.
- For those who underwent treatment ten years ago, it may be estimated to be at 70%.
- For people who had been treated fifteen years ago, the survival rate will be placed at an estimate of 65%.
Since bladder cancer occurs in stages, other statistics will also place their survival rates on patients based on the stages of their cancer. Here, we will look at patients who had been treated five years ago.
- For those whose cancer was at stage 0, their survival rate will be estimated to be at 98%.
- For patients who had stage I, their survival rate is placed at 88%.
- For stage II, the estimate is at 63%.
- For patients with stage III cancer, the estimate of their survival is at 46%.
- Finally, for those whose cancer was at stage IV, their survival rate is estimated to be 15%.
However, the higher the stage of cancer, the more adverse effects will be experienced by the affected individual. It is better that you visit a doctor in case you experience any unusual symptoms that seem connected with bladder cancer.
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Tests For Bladder Cancer
Your doctor may do some tests to check for bladder cancer:
- internal examination the doctor may check inside your bottom or vagina with their finger, using gloves
- urine tests your urine will be checked for signs of bladder cancer
- blood tests to check your general health
- ultrasound a scan on the outside of your abdomen to check for cancer
- cystoscopy the doctor puts a small camera into your bladder to see inside
- biopsy the doctor takes a small sample of the cells from the bladder to check for signs of cancer.
Your doctor might ask you to have further tests. These can include:
- CT scan and x-rays scans that take pictures of the inside of the body, sometimes also called a CT-IVP or a triple phase abdominal-pelvic CT scan
- MRI scan a scan that uses magnetism and radio waves to take pictures of the inside of the body
- bone scan a scan that uses dye to show changes in your bones
- FDG-PET scan a scan that uses an injection of liquid to show cancer cells.
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Understanding The Statistics: Cancer Survival
It is important to remember that all cancer survival numbers are based on averages across huge numbers of people. These numbers cannot predict what will happen in your individual case.
Survival rates will not tell you how long you will live after you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer. But, these numbers can give you an idea of how likely your treatment will be successful. Also, survival rates take into account your age at diagnosis but not whether you have other health conditions too.
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.
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Side Effects Of Treatment For Bladder Cancer
All cancer treatments can have side effects. Your treatment team will discuss these with you before you start treatment. Talk to your doctor or nurse about any side effects you are experiencing. Some side effects can be upsetting and difficult, but there is help if you need it. Call Cancer Council or email to speak with a caring cancer nurse for support.
What Happens During Treatment
A urinary catheter is inserted through your urethra and into your bladder. Then the BCG solution is injected into the catheter. The catheter is clamped off so the solution stays in your bladder. Some doctors may remove the catheter at this time.
You have to hold the medicine in your bladder. Youll be instructed to lie on your back and to roll from side to side to make sure the solution reaches your entire bladder.
After about two hours, the catheter is unclamped so the fluid can be drained. If the catheter was already removed, youll be asked to empty your bladder at this time.
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Palliative Or Supportive Care
If your cancer is at an advanced stage and can’t be cured, your medical team should discuss how the cancer will progress and which treatments are available to ease the symptoms.
You can be referred to a palliative care team, who can provide support and practical help, including pain relief.
Page last reviewed: 01 July 2021 Next review due: 01 July 2024
Is There Any Preparation Involved
Its important that you follow your doctors instructions for what to do before and after the procedure. Tell your doctor about all the medications you take. Certain immunosuppressants, antimicrobial therapies, and radiation therapies can interfere with BCG treatment.
Youll be advised to limit your fluid intake for four hours prior to the procedure. You might be told to avoid caffeine for a few hours longer than that, because its a diuretic and could make things more difficult.
Youll be asked to urinate just before the procedure so youll be able to hold the medication in your bladder for several hours.
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Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer
Symptoms of bladder cancer are relatively common symptoms of various diseases and are easy to miss. The most common symptom of bladder cancer is reddish or brownish-colored urine from blood in the urine. Other symptoms include the frequent urge to urinate, pain while urinating, and pain in the back or pelvis.
Who Can Have This Treatment
BCG is appropriate for noninvasive and minimally invasive bladder cancers. It usually follows a procedure called transurethral resection of bladder tumor . Its intended to help prevent recurrence.
This treatment only affects cells inside the bladder. Its not useful for later stage bladder cancer that has spread into or beyond the bladder lining, or to other tissues and organs.
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Treating Stage Iii Bladder Cancer
These cancers have reached the outside of the bladder and might have grown into nearby tissues or organs and/or lymph nodes . They have not spread to distant parts of the body.
Transurethral resection is often done first to find out how far the cancer has grown into the bladder wall. Chemotherapy followed by radical cystectomy is then the standard treatment.Partial cystectomy is rarely an option for stage III cancers.
Chemotherapy before surgery can shrink the tumor, which may make surgery easier. Chemo can also kill any cancer cells that could already have spread to other areas of the body and help people live longer. It can be especially useful for T4 tumors, which have spread outside the bladder. When chemo is given first, surgery to remove the bladder is delayed. The delay is not a problem if the chemo shrinks the cancer, but it can be harmful if it continues to grow during chemo. Sometimes the chemo shrinks the tumor enough that intravesical therapy or chemo with radiation is possible instead of surgery.
Some patients get chemo after surgery to kill any cancer cells left after surgery that are too small to see. Chemo given after cystectomy may help patients stay cancer-free longer, but so far its not clear if it helps them live longer. If cancer is found in nearby lymph nodes, radiation may be needed after surgery. Another option is chemo, but only if it wasn’t given before surgery.
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.
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Developing A Treatment Plan
In cancer care, different types of doctors often work together to create a patients overall treatment plan that combines different types of treatments.This is called a multidisciplinary team. This team is usually led by a urologist, a doctor who specializes in the genitourinary tract, or a urologic oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancers of the genitourinary tract. Cancer care teams include a variety of other health care professionals, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, oncology nurses, social workers, pharmacists, counselors, dietitians, and others.
Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors, including:
The type, stage, and grade of bladder cancer
Possible side effects
The patients preferences and overall health
Your care plan also includes treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of cancer care.
The first treatment a person is given for advanced urothelial cancer is called first-line therapy. If that treatment stops working, then a person receives second-line therapy. In some situations, third-line therapy may also be available.
Adjuvant systemic therapy is treatment that is given after radical surgery has been completed. In bladder cancer, adjuvant therapy is usually cisplatin-based chemotherapy or treatment in a clinical trial. Neoadjuvant therapy is treatment that is given before surgery, such as cisplatin-based chemotherapy.
Treating Stage Ii Bladder Cancer
These cancers have invaded the muscle layer of the bladder wall , but no farther. Transurethral resection is typically the first treatment for these cancers, but it’s done to help determine the extent of the cancer rather than to try to cure it.
When the cancer has invaded the muscle, radical cystectomy is the standard treatment. Lymph nodes near the bladder are often removed as well. If cancer is in only one part of the bladder, a partial cystectomy may be done instead. But this is possible in only a small number of patients.
Radical cystectomy may be the only treatment for people who are not well enough to get chemo. But most doctors prefer to give chemo before surgery because it’s been shown to help patients live longer than surgery alone. When chemo is given first, surgery is delayed. This is not a problem if the chemo shrinks the bladder cancer, but it might be harmful if the tumor continues to grow during chemo.
If cancer is found in nearby lymph nodes, radiation may be needed after surgery. Another option is chemo, but only if it wasn’t given before surgery.
For people who have had surgery, but the features of the tumor show it is at high risk of coming back, the immunotherapy drug, nivolumab, might be offered. When given after surgery, nivolumab is given for up to one year.
For patients who cant have surgery because of other serious health problems, TURBT, radiation, chemotherapy, or some combination of these may be options.
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Treatments You May Be Offered
In cases of non-invasive bladder cancer, it is usually possible to remove the cancer cells while leaving the rest of the bladder intact. This is done using a surgical technique called transurethral resection . This is sometimes followed by a course of chemotherapy, which is placed directly into the bladder to prevent the cancer returning. This method of using chemotherapy directly into the bladder reduces the risk of some side-effects, such as hair loss.
If your bladder cancer is the lower risk type it is possible that you will not need any more treatment than the TURBT and the initial chemotherapy installation. You will be monitored for a year to make sure it doesnt come back and the current guidelines suggest that you can be discharged at this point but do watch out for any symptoms.
Your treatment will also usually include a medication known as BCG which is injected into your bladder. BCG has been found to encourage the immune system to destroy any remaining cancerous cells. The immune system is the bodys natural defence against infection and illness. The BCG treatment is commonly carried out over a number of weeks in outpatient appointments. If you are about to start treatment with BCG we would recommend that you join our Confidential Forum to speak to others who have had this treatment. They can share their experiences of the treatment and their tips for dealing with the realities of the treatment course.
The risk is calculated using a series of factors, including:
Treating Stage Iv Bladder Cancer
These cancers have reached the pelvic or abdominal wall , may have spread to nearby lymph nodes , and/or have spread to distant parts of the body . Stage IV cancers are very hard to get rid of completely.
Chemotherapy is usually the first treatment if the cancer has not spread to distant parts of the body . The tumor is then rechecked. If it appears to be gone, chemo with or without radiation or cystectomy are options. If there are still signs of cancer in the bladder, chemo with or without radiation, changing to another kind of chemo, trying an immunotherapy drug, or cystectomy may be recommended.
Chemo is typically the first treatment when bladder cancer has spread to distant parts of the body . After this treatment the cancer is rechecked. If it looks like it’s gone, a boost of radiation to the bladder may be given or cystectomy might be done. If there are still signs of cancer, options might include chemo, radiation, both at the same time, or immunotherapy.
In most cases surgery cant remove all of the cancer, so treatment is usually aimed at slowing the cancers growth and spread to help people live longer and feel better. If surgery is a treatment option, it’s important to understand the goal of the operation whether it’s to try to cure the cancer, to help a person live longer, or to help prevent or relieve symptoms from the cancer.
Because treatment is unlikely to cure these cancers, many experts recommend taking part in a clinical trial.
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What Is A Bladder
The bladder can be described as a hollow organ, which is located next to the kidneys. The bladder functions by collecting all the urine coming from the kidneys through the ureter. It then stores the urine until it is removed from the body.
Having a bladder cancer causes an uncontrolled growth and development of cells in the bladder. The increasing production of cells is abnormal. Once the cells have grown, they can cause some complications in the person’s body including pain.
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S Of Bladder Cancer Diagnostics
|Urine test||If theres blood in the urine, a cytological test is prescribed. It allows you to know if there are tumour cells in your urine. It is also possible to perform an additional test, which includes rinsing the bladder and collecting fluid through a cystoscope or another small tube.|
|Computer tomography||CTs are used to measure tumour size and detect enlarged lymph nodes. Sometimes a special dye is injected into the patient before scanning. This provides a more accurate image detail. This dye can be injected into the patients vein or swallowed.|
|Cystoscopy||Cystoscopy is a key diagnostic procedure for bladder cancer. The examination is performed without anaesthesia. This procedure makes it possible to detect bladder tumours and determine whether a biopsy or surgery is necessary.|
|Magnetic Resonance Imaging||MRI uses magnetic fields rather than X-rays to produce detailed images of the body. The test determines the location, size and prevalence of the bladder tumour.|
|Biopsy||If cystoscopy shows abnormal tissue, a biopsy is performed. The procedure involves removing a small amount of tumour tissue for microscopic examination.|
|Ultrasound||The procedure helps to identify kidney dysfunction and ureteral blockage. This test does not require the use of a contrast agent.|
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