Bladder Cancer

Facts About Bladder Cancer

  • The American Cancer Society estimates that about 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2015.
  • Bladder cancer is three to four times more common in men than in women. It is two times more common in Caucasians than African-Americans.
  • Approximately 11,500 men and 4,490 women in the U.S. will die from bladder cancer this year.
  • The rate of new cases of bladder cancer has been dropping for both men and women in recent years. The death rate for bladder cancer has decreased slightly for women and been stable for men.
  • Cancer that is limited to the bladder lining is called non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) or superficial bladder cancer. More than 75% of bladder cancer is diagnosed as NMIBC, and this form of cancer has an excellent survival rate.
  • Muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) penetrates the layers of muscles in the bladder and is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Treating Bladder Cancer

Treatment options are based on factors including the type of bladder cancer (NMIBC vs MIBC), cancer stage, and the patient’s age and overall health. Bladder cancer, if caught early, often can be cured. In the past, complete removal of the bladder was the only way to treat bladder cancer. With advances in radiation therapy and chemotherapy, doctors now sometimes are able to treat the cancer while preserving the bladder. This allows many patients to preserve urinary function and allows many men to preserve erectile function.

The main treatment options include:

  • Surgery by a surgical oncologist or urologist to remove the cancer in the bladder. This usually is the first step in treatment. If a tumor is determined to be invasive, the next step may be removal of part or all of the bladder. Your surgeon may able to replace the bladder to help you maintain normal urinary function.
  • Radiation therapy, in which a radiation oncologist uses high-energy X-rays to destroy the tumor.
  • Chemotherapy, with a medical oncologist administering drugs to eliminate the cancer.
  • Biologic therapy – also called immunotherapy – in which doctors use drugs to stimulate your immune system to fight the cancer.

For More Information

Visit the National Cancer Institute