The prognosis for stage 4, or metastatic, bladder cancer may depend on how far the cancer has spread. Factors such as your overall health and age may improve your prognosis.

Receiving a diagnosis of stage 4 bladder cancer can feel overwhelming.

Stage 4 bladder cancer is the most advanced stage, and the prognosis is less promising than in earlier stages.

Many cancer treatments can be challenging. However, treatment can reduce or even eliminate your symptoms and help you live a longer, more comfortable life.

It’s important to consider the pros and cons of treating stage 4 bladder cancer because treatments have side effects and risks.

Symptoms of bladder cancer can include:

  • blood or blood clots in your urine
  • pain or burning during urination
  • frequent urination
  • needing to urinate at night
  • needing to urinate but not being able to
  • lower back pain on one side of the body

These symptoms commonly lead to a diagnosis, but they aren’t unique to stage 4 bladder cancer.

Stage 4 bladder cancer is also called metastatic bladder cancer. This means the cancer has spread outside the bladder into other areas.

People with metastatic cancer may experience symptoms relating to where the cancer has spread. For example, if bladder cancer has spread to the lungs, they may experience chest pain or increased coughing.

Metastatic bladder cancer is difficult to cure because it has already traveled to other parts of the body. The later you receive a diagnosis and the farther the cancer has traveled, the less chance it can be cured.

The 5-year survival rate is the proportion of people who survive for 5 years after a cancer diagnosis.

For bladder cancer, if the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 39%. If it has spread to a distant site, the 5-year survival rate is 7.7%. These survival rates have improved slightly over time.

There are still treatment options for this stage. Keep in mind that new treatments are always in development.

You may be able to join a clinical trial. Trials may study the effectiveness of new therapies and combinations, such as adding new anticancer or immunotherapy drugs to other therapies. Sometimes, they may be paid for.

Prognosis and treatment options rely heavily on the details of each person’s disease and overall health.

Knowing cancer grade and other details can help better predict prognosis, treatment options, and life expectancy.

Of course, these survival rates and numbers are only estimates. They can’t predict what will happen to every person. Some people will live longer or shorter than these estimated rates.

Reading them can be confusing and may lead to more questions. Be sure to talk openly with your healthcare professionals to better understand your situation.