The Facts About Bladder Cancer


  • Bladder cancer is not a rare cancer
  • It is one of the ten most common cancers in the UK
  • Over 23,000* people in the UK are diagnosed each year - that's over 60 people every day (500,000 worldwide) 
  • That's 3% of all new cancer cases
  • Over 100,000 people are living with it in the UK
  • Invasive bladder cancer has a high mortality rate - around 50%
  • Diagnosis can often be late - around 25% of all cases are diagnosed at a late stage, particularly in women
  • It affects all ages, both men and women, with almost three quarters of cases occuring in men
  • Has the highest recurrence rate of any known cancer - up to 80%
  • It is the only top 10 cancer where rates of prognosis are not improving
  • It is one of the most expensive cancers for the NHS to treat
  • Research until bladder cancer has been underfunded for decades - it receives less than 1% of dedicated UK cancer research funding

*this incidence figure includes the earliest stage cases of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, those defined in histology with Ta or CIS, which are not currently included in statistics given by CRUK.

There are over 200 different types of cancer - and bladder cancer is one of the 10 most common in the UK (men and women).  Bladder cancer is not a rare cancer.  

Despite this, there is very limited public awareness of the disease and it is a relatively low priority on the public health agenda.   ABC UK is dedicated to changing this and to helping people understand more about bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer has been called the ‘Cinderella' of urological cancers.   

Despite the rate of incidence and the levels of recurrence and mortality, bladder cancer has been overlooked in terms of research spending.  Other, less common, cancers have received support and resources and consequently have demonstrated a significant improvement in outcomes for patients.   Bladder cancer patients deserve access to better treatments and innovative new drugs. 

Research into bladder cancer has lagged behind other, more high profile, cancers and because of this there have been few advances in new treatments or improvement in survival rates over the past 40 years.      

Patient outcomes can be considerably improved by early diagnosis - up to 80% survival rate if caught early enough - so one of our key aims is to raise awareness both amongst the public and GPs of the symptoms and the need to take action much earlier. 

Bladder cancer is not only a disease of older people - younger people can also be affected.  Although smoking can be a major factor in the causes of bladder cancer, in over 50% of cases we do not know the cause.

The 20 most common cancers UK 2018 (CRUK)

The chart below gives CRUK incidence statistics for 2016-2018.  These CRUK incidence figures do not currently include the earliest stage cases of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, those defined in histology with Ta or CIS.  ABC UK do include these figures, which means that incidence for UK bladder cancer is over 23,000 annually and bladder cancer is in reality higher on this list.  

CRUK Incidence 2018.png



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Understanding Bladder Cancer: Nurses' Education Event: 13 September 2024 11/04/2024

Booking has now opened for the annual major ABC UK Nurses' Education Day. Friday 13 September in Birmingham  Register for your place here: Understanding Bladder Cancer and the Latest Developments Tickets, Fri 13 Sep 2024 at 09:00 | Eventbrite Full programme&nb...

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