Objective: To compare the survival of women and men with transitional cell bladder cancer.
Methods: We used the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database to identify patients aged 35 years or older diagnosed with bladder cancer between 1991 and 2001 actively followed up. We excluded cases diagnosed by autopsy or death certificates and those of unknown race. We used Cox proportional hazard regression to analyze survival in patients with advanced disease.
Results: Of the 31,009 patients meeting eligibility criteria, 26.7% were women. Median age at diagnosis for women and men was 72 and 70 years, respectively. Regional disease was diagnosed in 20.3% of white women and 35.5% of African-American women, compared with only 17.6% of white men and 25.9% of African-American men (P < .001). Increased age, African-American race, and being female significantly increased the hazard of death (hazard ratio [HR] 1.037, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1,034-1.041; HR 1.402, 95% CI 1.187-1.656; and HR 1.842, 95% CI 1.158-2.931).
Conclusion: Women with bladder cancer, particularly African-Americans, have shorter survival. This is partially explained by higher risk of diagnosis with poorly differentiated tumors, advanced stage, and advanced age. Women should be targeted for timely diagnosis.
Level of evidence: II-2.