The 5-year survival rate for all stages of bladder cancer is 78%. However, some factors may affect your life expectancy, including cancer stage and grade, age, and overall health.

Cancer survival rates can give you a general idea of how long people live after diagnosis but not much about your individual outlook outlook. Some factors that vary from person to person may affect your outlook, such as the cancer stage and tumor grade, as well as factors like age and general health.

The therapies you and your doctor choose and how quickly you start treatment can also affect your outlook. Additionally, not everyone responds to a particular treatment the same way.

Read on to learn more about bladder cancer survival rates and what may be involved in your prognosis.

To understand what a cancer survival rate may mean for your outlook, it’s important to know the type of statistic you’re looking at. A 5-year survival rate, for example, reflects the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after diagnosis. That means some of those people live well beyond 5 years.

The relative 5-year survival rate means something else entirely, and it’s arguably more informative. This figure conveys the percentage of people with bladder cancer who are likely to live at least 5 years after diagnosis compared to those who don’t have bladder cancer.

These statistics are based on people who received diagnoses at least 5 years ago. As bladder cancer treatment evolves, better therapies may become available. Any recent improvement in outlook won’t be reflected in those statistics.

Survival rates also don’t specify if survivors are in remission or are still in treatment. Nor do they consider each person’s cancer stage, tumor grade, specific treatment, age, or general health.

According to the National Cancer Institute’s surveillance, epidemiology, and end results program (SEER), the relative survival rates for all stages of bladder cancer are:

  • 1 year: 89%
  • 3 years: 82%
  • 5 years: 78%
  • 10 years: 70%

The 5-year relative survival rates broken down by stage give you a clearer picture of why stage matters. These figures are from the American Cancer Society and based on SEER data from people diagnosed between 2012 and 2018:

  • in situ (only in the bladder): 96%
  • localized: 70%
  • regional: 39%
  • distant: 8%
  • all stages: 77%

Survival rates by stage are based on the stage at diagnosis. Another important factor for outlook is the tumor grade. The grade represents how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread. Low grade bladder cancer is less likely than high grade cancer to spread into the bladder’s muscle wall and beyond.

The average age of diagnosis is 73. The chance of a male developing bladder cancer is about 1 in 28, whereas the chance of a female getting it is 1 in 91. However, certain risk factors can make a person’s chance of getting it higher than the average.

Young adults and children can develop bladder cancer, even though it’s less common. Although the risk of disease progression is the same, younger people tend to be diagnosed in the earlier stages when the prognosis is better.

Bladder cancer tends to recur, so you’re still considered at high risk after your treatment ends. Some people with superficial bladder cancer experience frequent recurrences throughout their lives.

Research from 2022 shows that the 1-year recurrence rate is anywhere from 15% to 61%, and the 5-year recurrence rate is between 31% and 78%.

It’s unclear if you can do anything to prevent bladder cancer from recurring. But recurrence can be treated, especially when localized, so it’s important to:

  • see your doctor regularly
  • follow any recommended schedule of lab tests or imaging tests
  • report signs and symptoms of bladder cancer right away
  • take prescribed medications as instructed

You can also do a few things to stay as healthy and strong as possible, such as:

  • manage weight
  • get regular exercise
  • eat a balanced diet
  • avoid smoking or quit smoking, if you smoke

Whether your cancer is in remission or still being treated, bladder cancer can affect every aspect of your life. Feeling stress, anxiety, or difficulty with symptoms and side effects is common.

Talking with family and friends can be helpful. You can also consider joining an online or in-person support group, where you’ll likely meet people who understand your concerns. It’s a good way to get support — and to give it too.

You can ask your doctor or hospital for information about local resources or visit:

Is bladder cancer highly curable?

Some forms of bladder cancer can be cured. The chances are higher if the cancer is lower grade and has not penetrated the muscular wall of the bladder. However, some people with cancer that has spread to other organs can achieve remission with combination therapies.

Is bladder cancer very aggressive?

How aggressive bladder cancer is usually depends on its grade. Low grade bladder cancer is not as aggressive as high grade and usually does not spread beyond the bladder. High grade bladder cancer can spread quickly.

How fast does bladder cancer spread?

How fast bladder cancer spreads can vary from person to person and can depend on the grade of the tumor. Treatment can also slow or stop cancer growth.

Can you live 15 years with bladder cancer?

Some people can live for many years with bladder cancer. However, your individual outlook can depend on many factors, including your cancer grade, cancer stage, age, and overall health.

You can learn a lot from statistics, but they can’t give you a prognosis. Your doctor will factor in your unique circumstances to give you a general idea of what to expect with bladder cancer.