What is the prognosis of Bladder Cancer?

By  , Expert Content
Nov 29, 2011

Usually, people with any type of cancer wish to know the prognosis of the disease. Prognosis tells the patient whether he or she has a chance of recovering from the disease or not and whether it will recur or not. Understanding the prognosis is important for the patient as it helps him or her and the family to handle the disease and live with it better. It also helps the patient and their loved ones to decide on the most appropriate treatment, lifestyle changes and finances.

Prognosis of bladder cancer depends on many factors and some of the important ones are:

  • Type of the cancer.
  • Stage of cancer (the size of the tumour, extent of involvement of the organ and spread to other parts of the body).
  • Grade of tumour (how abnormal or malign the cancer cells are and how quickly the cells grow and spread).
  • Patient factors such as age, general health.
  • Other factors such as response to initial treatment, coexistent carcinoma in situ and certain genetic mutations.

While discussing the prognosis with you, your doctor will base it on information obtained through studies done over many years in numerous patients with bladder cancer. The prognosis is considered good or favorable if the cancer responds well to treatment and the prognosis is considered poor or unfavorable if the cancer is difficult to treat, control or cure.

Stage and grade of the tumour are the most important variables that affect the prognosis (or the chances of control and cure) and the 5 year survival rate of bladder cancer. Survival rates of a cancer indicate the percentage of people with a certain type and stage of cancer who live for a specific period of time after their diagnosis (factors such as signs or symptoms of cancer, presence or absence of disease or treatment are not considered).

According to research, the lower the stage and grade of bladder cancer the better the outlook.

  • In early stages (stages 0, I, II), the five-year survival rate of bladder cancer is quite good (about 94%).
  • If the cancer has spread within the pelvis (stage III), the five-year survival rate decreases significantly to 49%.
  • After the cancer has spread to distant sites within the body (stage IV), the five-year survival rate drops to 6%.

Regular follow-up after treatment is important as the chances of recurrence are about 15% in one year and 32% in five years after the initial diagnosis in people with low-risk superficial bladder cancer and in the range of 61%-78% at one and five years, respectively, for high-risk superficial tumours. These statistics show that early detection and treatment is vital to improve the prognosis. Remember that every patient is different and the prognosis is only a possible prediction and not an absolute outcome for a particular patient.



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