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Can bladder cancer be cured?

  1. Whether you're a newly diagnosed patient or caring for someone with bladder cancer, this question is probably something you've wondered. Can I be cured? To tackle this question, I'd like to look a bit closer at what the cancer community means by "cure" and its distinction from cancer "remission". According to the National Cancer Institute, "cure" means that there are no traces of cancer and that the cancer will never return. "Remission" takes place when cancer signs and symptoms have been reduced either partially or completely. Some doctors may consider your cancer to be cured if you have been in complete remission for 5 or more years.

    To tie this back to bladder cancer, treatment can cure bladder cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Treatment options for bladder cancer may include surgery, BCG intravesical immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and more ( However, the likelihood of being cured often depends on the the diagnosis - the type of cancer and how quickly the cancer has spread.

    We do have some additional information about bladder cancer prognosis and statistics here ( The National Cancer Institute resource can be found here ( What is your experience with bladder cancer? Have you heard a different definition of cancer "cure"? Would like to hear in the comments below!

    -Sarah ( Team Member)

    1. I think "cure" is a complicated word that should be used cautiously. We were told that my first husband was cured, only to have his cancer return two years later with a vengeance as metastatic disease. We really had put it out of our minds as a high risk because the word "cured" was used. I do think many people are cured of bladder cancer. The trouble is, it is hard to know if you are one of them until you've gone many years with a recurrence.

      1. Renata, I completely agree that "cure" is a complicated word and should be used with caution. I've followed your journey through your writing, and how shocking it was to hear "metastatic" after being told he was "cured". Such an important reason for the cancer community not to take this word lightly. Your experience is so valuable to this discussion. -Sarah ( Team Member)

      2. I'm so very sorry this has happened to your Husband. My Husband is still fairly new in having his cancer treated. In the future, if we hear the word "cured" we know now what happened to your Husband. My Husband had neck cancer before and is in "remission" and doing great with it. Now, however, he has muscle invasive bladder cancer. Prayers are really helping us right now. We also have some great Doctors working on our behalf.

    2. I was diagnosed with small cell bladder cancer 3 years ago. Yes that is a rare one and the word cure is never used on this cancer. I just try to look at it as a day by day thing...i have a ct scan coming up for my 2 1/2 years since chemo and my operation. I am hoping for an all clear and then a 6 months of getting on with my life. Who knows. No one does....just glad to be here!

      1. Hi , a rare cancer diagnosis can be difficult to cope with, and adds another layer to these discussions regarding "cures". Good to hear that you're taking things day by day. Sometimes it's all you can do. Keep us posted on how the upcoming ct scan goes. I'm rooting for the "all clear" for you too! Keep in touch. -Sarah ( Team Member)

    3. It's a difficult to make a distinction between remission and cure. Based on your definition of remission, they could be the same? That is, unless and until cancer returns. When it does return, can one experience multiple cures? ~Jacqueline, Moderator,

      1. yes interesting point indeed and a difficult one. My total pelvic exenteration surgery was done with the intention not to treat but cure. It is massively invasive surgery and part of which is bladder removal along with all my pelvic organs but the upside is it is carried out only if it believed to be able to cure the cancer. My pathology results showed zero margins, no affected lymph nodes and given a no evidence of disease status and currently 4.5 years on, that is still the case. I do always say I am only as good as my last scan. My doctor never used word cured or remission but simply says NED each year, to-date. Laura, Moderator,

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