Bladder Cancer Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

Bladder cancer impacts the bladder, an organ in the pelvis that stores urine before it leaves your body. It’s the fourth most common cancer in men and the eighth most common cancer in women.

About 81,180 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, and around 17,100 people die annually from the disease.

This article highlights important facts and statistics you should know about bladder cancer.

Doctor discussing medical results with male patient

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Bladder Cancer Overview

Bladder cancer happens when cells in the bladder grow out of control and form a tumor. These cancerous tumors can spread to different parts of the body.

Types of Bladder Cancer

There are three main types of bladder cancer:

How Common Is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer is considered relatively common when compared to other cancers. Research shows about one in 27 men and one in 89 women will develop bladder cancer during their lifetime. To put it another way, about 2.3% of men and women will be diagnosed with bladder cancer.

About 712,644 people were living with bladder cancer in the United States in 2019. The number of bladder cancer cases declined by about 1% yearly from 2009–2018.

Trends in Bladder Cancer Incidence

The rates of bladder cancer cases have been decreasing in recent years. For women, deaths from bladder cancer have dropped slightly, but death rates in men have remained stable.

Bladder Cancer by Ethnicity

White people are more likely to develop bladder cancer than Black or Hispanic people.

White men have double the risk compared to Black men. However, research has suggested that Black people with bladder cancer may have a worse prognosis. Experts are still trying to understand the different factors contributing to this disparity. 

Bladder Cancer by Age and Gender

Bladder cancer mainly affects older people. The average age of someone diagnosed with bladder cancer is 73. Around 90% of individuals with bladder cancer are older than age 55.

The disease is much more common in males. Men are four times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than women are.

Signs of Bladder Cancer

The most common early symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine.

Causes of Bladder Cancer and Risk Factors

Bladder cancer results from changes in bladder cells. Experts don’t know exactly why these changes occur, but certain risk factors can increase a person’s chances of developing this disease.

Smoking is the most common risk factor. About 47% of all bladder cancer cases are attributed to smoking. Smokers are four to seven times more likely than nonsmokers to develop bladder cancer.

Other factors linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer include:

Preventing Bladder Cancer

There's no surefire approach to preventing bladder cancer, but some ways to lower your risk include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding exposure to chemicals
  • Eating a healthy diet

What Are the Mortality Rates for Bladder Cancer?

The mortality rates for bladder cancer depend on the type and stage of the disease when it’s diagnosed. About half of bladder cancers are detected while the cancer is only in the inner layer of the bladder wall. And, roughly one in three cases of bladder cancer spreads into deeper layers but is only in the bladder at diagnosis.

Healthcare providers sometimes use five-year survival rates to explain a person’s prognosis. This tells you what percentage of people live at least five years after diagnosis. The overall five-year survival rate for people with bladder cancer is 77%.

Additional five-year survival rate statistics for bladder cancer include:

  • Bladder cancer that hasn’t spread beyond the inner layer of the bladder wall: 96%
  • If the tumor hasn’t spread outside the bladder but is considered invasive: 70%
  • Bladder cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs: 38%
  • When cancer has spread to distant body parts: 6%

Survival Rate Data

It’s important to remember that survival rates are only estimates based on collected data. Each person has a different experience, and survival rates won’t predict what will happen in every case.

Screening and Early Detection

Currently, no professional organizations recommend routine screening for bladder cancer. That’s because available tests aren’t always reliable and haven’t reduced the risk of dying from bladder cancer in people who don’t have an elevated risk. However, some healthcare providers may recommend tests for people with a high risk of bladder cancer.

Some of the tests may include:

  • Urinalysis: Checks for blood and other substances in the urine
  • Urine cytology: A microscope search for cancer cells in urine
  • Tumor marker urine tests: Looks for substances in urine that could signal bladder cancer

These tests may detect some cases of bladder cancer early, but they’ve been known to miss some or provide false-positive results.


Bladder cancer is more common in men, older people, and White people, but it can affect anyone. If it’s diagnosed early, bladder cancer is very treatable. Though there are no recommended screening options for people who aren’t at high risk, reporting any unusual symptoms, identifying risk factors, and seeing your healthcare provider regularly may help you catch this cancer early.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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