Bladder Cancer Survival Rates
Survival rates dont tell a person how long they will live, but they can predict how likely it is that treatment will succeed. People whose cancer hasnt grown past the bladder have a better at living for at least five years with treatment.
These are just guidelines and dont necessarily apply to each individual persons case. If you have questions about your specific prognosis and survival chances, talk to your doctor.
National Cancer Institute Five-Year Survival Rates
- Average overall 77 percent
Transurethral Resection Of The Bladder Cancer Tumor
This is when the tumor is removed from the urinary tract through the urethra using an electrical force. Transurethral resection is an endoscopic or scope procedure that does not involve making an incision in the body.
Drug therapy after TUR is commonly prescribed for patients with large, multiple or high-grade tumors.
Types Of Treatment For Bladder Cancer By Conventional Method
Perhaps youre wondering, how is bladder cancer treated? The best method of treatment depends on:
Most bladder cancers are treated with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies.
You can explore the different treatment options with your doctor, and what to expect.
Lets delve deeper into the various methods used to treat bladder cancer.
You May Like: Best Supplement For Overactive Bladder
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.
Treating Stage I Bladder Cancer
Stage I bladder cancers have grown into the connective tissue layer of the bladder wall , but have not reached the muscle layer.
Transurethral resection with fulguration is usually 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. If no other treatment is given, many people will later get a new bladder cancer, which often will be more advanced. This is more likely to happen if the first cancer is high-grade .
Even if the cancer is found to be low grade , a second TURBT is often recommended several weeks later. If the doctor then feels that all of the cancer has been removed, intravesical BCG or intravesical chemo is usually given. If all of the cancer wasn’t removed, options are intravesical BCG or cystectomy .
If the cancer is high grade, if many tumors are present, or if the tumor is very large when it’s first found, radical cystectomy may be recommended.
For people who arent healthy enough for a cystectomy, radiation therapy might be an option, but the chances for cure are not as good.
Treatments For Bladder Cancer
If you have bladder cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for bladder cancer, your healthcare team will consider:
- other medical problems you have
- what you prefer or want
There Are Three Ways That Cancer Spreads In The Body
- Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
- Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
- Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.
Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer
If you dont know how bladder cancer is diagnosed, we are here to help you.
- Usually, the first and common symptom of bladder cancer for most people is blood in the urine, also known as hematuria. Such signs are generally seen after the age of 40. If the blood is visible, it will prompt the patient to consult a doctor, while most of the time, blood is microscopic and can only be discovered during a routine lab test.
- The other symptom could be frequent and painful urination. You should consult a doctor if you are facing any kind of difficulty in passing urine.
- Abdominal and lower back pain is also regarded as one of the signs of bladder cancer.
- Problems such as urinary incontinence and loss of bladder control could be another sign.
The presence of one of the signs mentioned above does not always mean that you have bladder cancer. Since they are abnormal bodily functions, consulting a doctor becomes essential. Occasionally, people diagnosed with bladder cancer do not experience pain or excessive bleeding thus, medical attention is significant.
Intermediate Risk Early Bladder Cancer
People with intermediate-risk non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer should be offered a course of at least 6 doses of chemotherapy. The liquid is placed directly into your bladder, using a catheter, and kept there for around an hour before being drained away.
You should be offered follow-up appointments at 3, 9 and 18 months, then once every year. At these appointments, your bladder will be checked using a cystoscopy. If your cancer returns within 5 years, you’ll be referred back to a specialist urology team.
Some of the chemotherapy medicine may be left in your urine after treatment, which could severely irritate your skin.
It helps if you sit down to urinate and that you’re careful not to splash yourself or the toilet seat. Always wash the skin around your genitals with soap and water afterwards.
If you’re sexually active, it’s important to use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom. This is because the medicines may be present in your semen or vaginal fluids, which can cause irritation.
You also shouldn’t try to get pregnant or father a child while having chemotherapy for bladder cancer, as the medicines can increase the risk of having a child with birth defects.
Also Check: Best Foods To Eat For Bladder Infection
Treatments After Or Instead Of Surgery
Sometimes, doctors will use a mix of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to avoid surgery to remove the bladder. It can be a good option if youâre not healthy enough for surgery. In this case, you will likely take the chemo drug cisplatin by itself, cisplatin and fluorouracil, or mitomycin with fluorouracil.
You may also get chemotherapy and radiation together after surgery if your cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the bladder but hasnât spread elsewhere.
If your cancer spreads after chemo, you can try other chemotherapy drugs or other types of medicine, like immunotherapy.
Types Of Cancer Treatment
There are many types of cancer treatment. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is.
Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. When you need treatment for cancer, you have a lot to learn and think about. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused. But, talking with your doctor and learning about the types of treatment you may have can help you feel more in control. Our list of Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Treatment may help.
Read Also: Unable To Control Bowels And Bladder
Radiotherapy With A Radiosensitiser
Radiotherapy is given by a machine that beams the radiation at the bladder . Sessions are usually given on a daily basis for 5 days a week over the course of 4 to 7 weeks. Each session lasts for about 10 to 15 minutes.
A medicine called a radiosensitiser should also be given alongside radiotherapy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This medicine affects the cells of a tumour, to enhance the effect of radiotherapy. It has a much smaller effect on normal tissue.
As well as destroying cancerous cells, radiotherapy can also damage healthy cells, which means it can cause a number of side effects. These include:
- tightening of the vagina , which can make having sex painful
- erectile dysfunction
- difficulty passing urine
Most of these side effects should pass a few weeks after your treatment finishes, although there’s a small chance they’ll be permanent.
Having radiotherapy directed at your pelvis usually means you’ll be infertile .
After having radiotherapy for bladder cancer, you should be offered follow-up appointments every 3 months for the first 2 years, then every 6 months for the next 2 years, and every year after that. At these appointments, your bladder will be checked using a cystoscopy.
You may also be offered CT scans of your chest, abdomen and pelvis after 6 months, 1 year and 2 years. A CT scan of your urinary tract may be offered every year for 5 years.
What Is Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
Muscle invasive bladder cancer is a cancer that spreads into the detrusor muscle of the bladder. The detrusor muscle is the thick muscle deep in the bladder wall. This cancer is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.
In the U.S., bladder cancer is the third most common cancer in men. Each year, there are more than 83,000 new cases diagnosed in men and women. About 25% of bladder cancers are MIBC. Bladder cancer is more common as a person grows older. It is found most often in the age group of 75-84. Caucasians are more likely to get bladder cancer than any other ethnicity. But there are more African-Americans who do not survive the disease.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is when your body cells grow out of control. When this happens, the body cannot work the way it should. Most cancers form a lump called a tumor or a growth. Some cancers grow and spread fast. Others grow more slowly. Not all lumps are cancers. Cancerous lumps are sometimes called malignant tumors.
What is Bladder Cancer?
When cells of the bladder grow abnormally, they can become bladder cancer. A person with bladder cancer will have one or more tumors in his/her bladder.
How Does Bladder Cancer Develop and Spread?
The bladder wall has many layers, made up of different types of cells. Most bladder cancers start in the urothelium or transitional epithelium. This is the inside lining of the bladder. Transitional cell carcinoma is cancer that forms in the cells of the urothelium.
You May Like: Loss Of Bladder Control When Coughing
Treatment Options For Bladder Cancer
Multiple treatment options are used for bladder cancer, and which are appropriate for you depends on the stage and location of the disease. The approach to treating bladder cancer also depends on a patients age and healthy history. A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts will recommend treatment options based on each patients unique diagnosis, as well as any concerns about side effects and personal preferences. Common treatments for bladder cancer include:
- Surgery typically the first treatment option for early-stage bladder cancers because tumors have likely not spread to other areas of the body
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
Also Check: Treating Overactive Bladder In The Elderly
Permission To Use This Summary
PDQ is a registered trademark. The content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text. It cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless the whole summary is shown and it is updated regularly. However, a user would be allowed to write a sentence such as NCIs PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks in the following way: .
The best way to cite this PDQ summary is:
PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Bladder Cancer Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated < MM/DD/YYYY> . Available at: . Accessed < MM/DD/YYYY> .
Images in this summary are used with permission of the author, artist, and/or publisher for use in the PDQ summaries only. If you want to use an image from a PDQ summary and you are not using the whole summary, you must get permission from the owner. It cannot be given by the National Cancer Institute. Information about using the images in this summary, along with many other images related to cancer can be found in Visuals Online. Visuals Online is a collection of more than 3,000 scientific images.
Life After Bladder Cancer Treatment
Anyone with bladder cancer will often wonder whether the symptoms will get better or worsen with time. Your concern is genuine. The recovery or recurrence will depend on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease, but the aim of treatment is always to destroy the cancer.
If the cancer doesnt go away completely, it can spread to another part of the body. Learning to live as a cancer patient or survivor can be stressful, but its critical.
Coping tips include:
- Seeking support from friends and family
- Learning to manage the effects of treatment
- Seeking counselling
Treating Bladder Cancer That Progresses Or Recurs
If cancer continues to grow during treatment or comes back after treatment , treatment options will depend on where and how much the cancer has spread, what treatments have already been used, and the patient’s overall health and desire for more treatment. Its important to understand the goal of any further treatment if its to try to cure the cancer, to slow its growth, or to help relieve symptoms as well as the likely benefits and risks.
For instance, non-invasive bladder cancer often comes back in the bladder. The new cancer may be found either in the same place as the original cancer or in other parts of the bladder. These tumors are often treated the same way as the first tumor. But if the cancer keeps coming back, a cystectomy may be needed. For some non-invasive tumors that keep growing even with BCG treatment, and where a cystectomy is not an option, immunotherapy with pembrolizumab might be recommended.
Cancers that recur in distant parts of the body can be harder to remove with surgery, so other treatments, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or radiation therapy, might be needed. For more on dealing with a recurrence, see Understanding Recurrence.
What Are The Risks Of Bladder Cancer
No single factor is directly connected to bladder cancer, but factors that can increase the risk include:
- Age: Bladder cancer typically affects people age 55 and older.
- Smoking: Carcinogens from tobacco smoke come in contact with the lining of the bladder. Smokers are three times as likely as non-smokers to get bladder cancer.
- Family history: There is evidence that bladder cancer may have a genetic component.
- Industrial chemicals: Chemicals known as aromatic amines are often used in the dye industry. Workers who have daily exposure to them, such as painters, machinists and hairdressers, may be at a higher risk for bladder cancer.
- Drinking contaminated water: This includes water that has been treated with chlorine or drinking water with a naturally high level of arsenic, which occurs in many rural communities in the United States,.
- Taking certain herb: Supplements such as Aristolochia fangchi, a Chinese herb, sometimes used for weight loss has been linked to higher rates of bladder cancer.
Recommended Reading: What Causes A Cyst On Your Bladder
Cystoscopy With Cautery Destruction Of The Bladder Tumor
Cystoscopy is an outpatient procedure during which a thin, lighted tube with a camera is passed through the urethra into the bladder, allowing your doctor to see the inside of the bladder.
Most modern cystoscopes are also equipped with channels that permit small instruments to be passed into the bladder. During a cystoscopy, your doctor may use these instruments to remove tissue, stop bleeding with a special electrical device called an electrocautery or even perform laser treatment. If the bladder cancer tumor is small enough, this cautery may be used to remove the cancer.