Bladder Cancer & Survival Rates
Notwithstanding the high occurrence of bladder cancer with the people of United States, the survival rates are good and improving, thanks to the advent of specialty drugs. However, the stage at which one is diagnosed with the disease determines the length of survival.
Early diagnosis is very important but unfortunately, that often gets delayed because the symptoms of bladder cancer are deceptive and are often mistaken for other urinary diseases such as hematuria and urinary frequency.
The Bladder & The Bladder Cancer
The bladder is a crucial part of our urinary system, located between the pelvic bones, and connected to the kidneys by two thin pipes called ureters. This hollow muscular balloon-shaped organ stores urine for discharge when it is full.
The lining of the bladder wall is made up of four main layers of tissue. The innermost layer is called urothelium, or transitional epithelium, and is made up of cells called urothelial or transitional cells. Bladder cancer usually starts in the cells making the innermost layer which
Normally, body produces new cells to replace old or damaged cells and once this is done the new cell production is stopped. However, sometimes error occurs in this discipline that causes cells continue to grow even when there is no need, resulting in formation of tumors. Tumors can be benign (non cancerous) or malignant(cancerous). The growth of malignant or cancerous tumors is dangerous because they may invade and damage other healthy tissues around them and also spread into other parts of the body.
Is why they are also called urothelial cancer or transitional cell cancer. There can be various types of bladder cancers depending on whether they are invasive or not.
- Cigarette smoking - This is by far the biggest risk factor for bladder cancer. About half of all bladder cancer are found to have developed due to cigarette smoking.
- Family history - Bladder cancer cases stemming from the first degree relatives have found a lot of evidence in Spain where the number of incidences of bladder cancer is highest.
- Occupational exposure to chemicals - People exposed to chemicals used in manufacturing of paints, dyes, metal and petroleum products.
- Previous cancer treatment - Previous treatments with cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, or pelvic radiation.
- Exposure to arsenic - Especially from well water.
- Exposure to aristolochic - Found in a Chinese herb.
- Bladder infection - Caused by schistosoma haematobium.
- Lynch Syndrome - A genetic condition.
- Overuse of indwelling catheters.
Bladder Cancer Treatments
There are four types of recognized treatments for bladder cancer available today.
- Surgery - Various surgery processes are Transurethral resection (TUR), Radical cystectomy, Partial Cystectomy, and Urinary diversion.
- Radiation therapy - External radiation therapy, Internal radiation therapy.
- Chemotherapy - Systemic chemotherapy, Regional chemotherapy, and Combination chemotherapy
- Immunotherapy - Bacillus Calmette-Guerin(BCG), Immunomodulators or PD-1 inhibitors such as Pembrolizumab, atezolizumab, nivolumab, avelumab, and durvalumab.
Bladder Cancer Survival Rates
The survival rate is an indicator of the average length of life after the disease is diagnosed. However, the survival of a patient is also influenced by the disciplined and healthy lifestyle maintained by the patient.
According to the American Cancer Society, the relative survival rates for all stages of bladder cancer are:
- 5 years: 77 percent
- 10 years: 70 percent
- 15 years: 65 percent
These figures convey the average percentage of people likely to survive for at least the corresponding number of years after they were diagnosed with bladder cancer. You will get a clearer picture of survival if you look at the statistics based on the different stages of diagnosis, such as the below figures based on people diagnosed from 1988 to 2001:
- Stage 0: 98 percent
- Stage 1: 88 percent
- Stage 2: 63 percent
- Stage 3: 46 percent
- Stage 4: 15 percent
The grade of tumor is also an important factor that influences the survival rates. It defines how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread. A low-grade bladder cancer is less likely than a high-grade bladder cancer to spread into the muscle wall of the bladder and beyond.
Bladder Cancer Survival Rates By Age
Bladder Cancer is a disease that has more chances of occurrence in older adults. Three- fourths or more of new cases of bladder cancer have been detected in people greater than 65 years of age. Studies show that five-year survival rates declined progressively for the age group of people increased from 65 years to over 84 years. The average age of incidence of Bladder Cancer in men is 69, whereas it is 71 for women. For people under 40, the likelihood of incidence is less than 1 percent.
A new focus area in oncology care is cancer survivorship that stresses on helping patients’ transition from active treatment to longer survivorship. What comes next is to adopt the right practices to lead a normal and healthy life during survival.