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How common is bladder cancer?

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for bladder cancer in the United States for 2016 are:

  • About 76,960 new cases of bladder cancer (about 58,950 in men and 18,010 in women)
  • About 16,390 deaths from bladder cancer (about 11,820 in men and 4,570 in women)

The rates of new bladder cancers and of cancer deaths and have been dropping slightly in women in recent years. In men, incidence rates have been decreasing and death rates have been stable.

Bladder cancer accounts for about 5% of all new cancers in the US. It is the fourth most common cancer in men, but it is less common in women.

Risk of bladder cancer

Bladder cancer occurs mainly in older people. About 9 out of 10 people with this cancer are over the age of 55. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 73.

Men are about 3 to 4 times more likely to get bladder cancer during their lifetime than women. Overall, the chance men will develop this cancer during their life is about 1 in 26. For women, the chance is about 1 in 88. (But each person’s chances of getting bladder cancer can be affected by certain risk factors.)

Whites are diagnosed with bladder cancer about twice as often as African Americans or Hispanic Americans.

Extent of cancer at the time of diagnosis

About half of all bladder cancers are first found while the cancer is still confined to the inner layer of the bladder wall. (These are called non-invasive or in situ cancers.) About 1 in 3 bladder cancers have invaded into deeper layers but are still only in the bladder. In most of the remaining cases, the cancer has spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes outside the bladder. Rarely (in about 4% of cases), it has spread to distant parts of the body. Black patients are slightly more likely to have more advanced disease when they are diagnosed, compared to whites.

Survival statistics are discussed in Survival rates for bladder cancer, by stage.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

Last Medical Review: 01/26/2016
Last Revised: 05/23/2016