Outlook by stage and grade
The statistics and outlook information that follows is just a general guide and so cannot predict what will happen to you personally. Everyone's medical circumstances, response to treatment and individual outlook is different. You should always talk to your own doctor or member of your medical care team with any personal concerns.
If you are not sure whether you would like to read statistics about the risk of dying from bladder cancer, you can always come back to this information at another time or speak to one of your hospital team.
The long term risk of dying from bladder cancer depends on how far the cancer has grown into the wall of the bladder ("stage"), how aggressive the cancer cells look under the microscope ("grade"), and whether it has spread outside of the bladder or not. The type of cancer also has some influence on the risk of death.
Unless otherwise stated, the following statistics are the latest provided by BAUS (British Association of Urological Surgeons).
In 2008 there were 5,002 deaths from bladder cancer in the UK; 3,273 male deaths and 1,729 female deaths. The mortality (number of deaths in the population) from bladder cancer has been decreasing in men for the last 20 years, but for women there has been very little change. Women are less likely to have bladder cancer, but if they do get it the risk of death is 10% higher than in men.
Of all the people diagnosed with bladder cancer in England and Wales, about 58 out of every 100 men (58%) live for at least 5 years after they are diagnosed. 50 out of every 100 women (50%) live for at least 5 years. The difference between survival in men and women is not entirely clear, but may be due to female hormones or differences in bladder thickness. These statistics are relative survival figures. This means that they don't include people who have died from other causes (Cancer Research UK )
As smoking at least doubles the risk of bladder cancer, avoiding or stopping smoking may halve the number of deaths from bladder cancer.
Elderly patients are at a higher risk of death from bladder cancer.
Outlook by stage of tumour
The most important factor is the stage of the tumour (how far it has spread). The statistical risk of dying depends on the stage of the cancer. These statistical figures indicate the long term risk rather than the immediate risk.
- Stage Ta: Non Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
Around 50% of patients have this type of bladder cancer. The overall risk of dying from this stage of bladder cancer is 10%. The long term risk of dying from bladder cancer at this stage is similar to the normal population.
- Stage T1: Non Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
Around 25% of patients have this type of bladder cancer. Most patients will have prolonged follow up over many years. The long term risk of dying from bladder cancer at this stage is around 30% overall. This risk is 10% lower (i.e. 20% risk of death) if the tumour is grade 2 and 10 % higher (i.e. 40% risk of dying) if the tumour is grade 3.
- Carcinoma in situ
This is an aggressive condition that may progress to muscle invasive cancer. Although it may be difficult to see and diagnose, the cells themselves appear aggressive under the microscope. It is a serious but uncommon cancer: carcinoma in situ on its own accounts for less than 1% of all types of bladder cancers. However, it more commonly occurs in combination with other bladder tumours. The long term risk of dying from bladder cancer at this stage is 30-40%.
- Stage T2 or T3: Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
19% of patients have this type of bladder cancer. The long term risk of dying from bladder cancer at this stage is 50-55%.
- Stage T4 or pelvic lymph node spread (N1,2 or 3): Locally Advanced Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
3.5% of patients have this type of bladder cancer. The long term risk of dying from bladder cancer at this stage is 75%.
- Stage M1: Metastatic Bladder Cancer (cancer which has spread outside the pelvis)
1.5% of patients have this type of bladder cancer. The vast majority will be stage T2, T3 or T4. The long term risk of dying from bladder cancer at this stage is around 95%.
These statistics may not necessarily reflect your own situation, individual medical circumstances will differ.
All figures are taken from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24447825