|Stages||Relative 5-years Survival Rate|
Upon diagnosis of cancer, a patient experiences a range of emotions. While a doctor cannot predict the future, he or she can offer the patient some peace of mind by offering an estimate. It is imperative to understand the figures should a patient choose to make this information known.
The chart from the National Cancer Institute's SEER database depicts the five-year survival rate, meaning the percentage of patients who live at least five years upon diagnosis. However, people live much longer, of course, and some are cured.
Many factors, such as the stage and progression of the cancer, can affect survival rates. Underlying health issues and how the cancer responds to treatment can also have a drastic impact.
Traditionally considered a disease that affects older men, studies have shown that female patients tend to present with more advanced tumors and incur a worse prognosis than their male counterparts. As a result, the survival rate for women falls short to that of men at all stages of the disease. The five-year survival rate for women is equivalent to the ten-year survival rate for men.
Although the aforementioned seems grim, it may be comforting to know that survival rates are based upon research gathered from thousands of people and cannot predict any single outcome of cancer. Understanding the type and the stage of a patient's cancer is key in estimating their outlook. There is hope.
When discovered and treated early, bladder cancer is extremely treatable and often times curable. Knowing the symptoms (blood in the urine, a frequent need to urinate, urination accompanied with pain, abdominal or low back pain, and sometimes a urinary infection), are paramount in detecting cancer.
There are presently over 500,000 bladder cancer survivors in the United States today. Each survivor has a unique and inspirational story, and—more importantly—each persevered. BCAN, or the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, is an excellent resource for those battling cancer. Patients can go online to find local support groups, online forums, uplifting stories, as well as access to a plethora of articles and medical information. Many survivors believe the key to survival depends upon support from others battling the same affliction and a positive outlook.
One such survivor, Karen, was diagnosed in 2003 with stage two invasive cancer and with the help of her urologist, elected to have her bladder removed. Nine years later, Karen enjoys an excellent quality of life and, in many ways, her life is exactly the same prior to her diagnosis.
A clinical trial is a research study that tests how well a new medical approach works on patients. Clinical trials are often designed to study how cancer progresses, how it may be diagnosed, methods of preventing cancer, and ways to manage it. Most often, these studies examine the various drugs and medications used to treat the disease. One might consider participating in these studies, as they have an opportunity to contribute to knowledge of, and progress against, cancer.
Our website provides a complimentary packet on bladder cancer with detailed information regarding the latest treatments and clinical trials available. Further, this must-read book answers one hundred of the most prevalent questions patients have. Knowledge is power when fighting cancer, and this book offers a terrific start.