Bladder Cancer – Types & Stages

Cancer Treatment in Scottsdale & Payson, AZ

No matter who you are or what your condition, a cancer diagnosis can be among the most difficult challenges we face in life – but regardless of the situation or the prognosis, Palo Verde Cancer Specialists is here to help. Our cancer treatment team of oncologists, radiation therapy experts, and cancer doctors works with every patient individually to design a treatment plan that works for them, and we strive to use noninvasive solutions whenever possible. We proudly treat virtually any form of cancer at our six cancer centers, including all types and stages of bladder cancer.

Types of Bladder Cancer

The type of bladder cancer you have depends on what kind of cell the cancer started in, and each type may have a different outlook or available treatment options. While one form of bladder cancer is by far the most common, there are several types of bladder cancer possible:

  • Transitional Cell Bladder Cancer: Accounting for roughly 90% of cases, this is by far the most common type of bladder cancer. This cancer forms as a tumor in the cells of the bladder lining, and they may grow inward towards the hollow center of the bladder or spread into other layers of the bladder.
  • Squamous Cell Bladder Cancer: This makes up about 5% of all bladder cancer cases and forms in the squamous cells of the bladder, which form the moist, skin-like tissue that lines the outside of all bodily organs. This form is usually invasive, meaning it’s more likely to grow and spread.
  • Adenocarcinoma: This is a very rare form of bladder cancer, making up just 1-2% of cases. It develops in the gland cells in the lining of the bladder and is usually invasive.

Stages of Bladder Cancer

Similar to many other forms of cancer, the severity of an individual case of bladder cancer is assessed using a staging system. The system ranges from Stage 0 through Stage IV, with the higher stages being more serious. Doctors use the TNM method to assess the stage of cancer, standing for Tumor, Node, and Metastasis:

  • T: This describes the size of the original tumor. The larger the tumor, the more serious the cancer.
  • N: This tells if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • M: This refers to whether or not the cancer has metastasized (spread) to other organs and sites in the body.

Each of these variables is assessed to determine an overall stage of the cancer. Bladder cancer staging runs as follows:

  • Stage 0a: An early tumor that only exists on the inner surface of the lining of the bladder. The tumor hasn’t spread into other layers of the bladder wall, and the tumor can often be removed surgically or treated with CyberKnife.
  • Stage 0is: Also called flat or cancer in situ (CIS), this cancer only exists in the bladder lining and has neither grown in towards the center of the bladder or out into other layers of the bladder wall. That said, these cancer are often aggressive and will invade other layers of the bladder wall eventually.
  • Stage I: At this point, the tumor has pushed past the bladder lining and spread into the lamina propria, another layer of the bladder wall. It has not yet penetrated the layer of muscle in the wall.
  • Stage II: The tumor has penetrated the muscular wall of the bladder, making it an invasive or muscle-invasive cancer. The cancer has yet to reach any lymph nodes or spread to distant sites.
  • Stage III: The cancer has spread through the entirety of the muscular wall and reached the fatty layer of tissue around the bladder. It may have also spread to the prostate, uterus, or vagina (depending on the sex of the patient), but has not yet spread to lymph nodes or distant sites.
  • Stage IV: Stage IV bladder cancer can refer to any of the following situations:
    • The cancer has spread to the pelvic or abdominal wall, but not to lymph nodes or distant sites.
    • The tumor has spread to regional (nearby) lymph nodes, but not to distant sites.
    • The tumor has spread to other parts of the body. It may or may not be in the lymph nodes.
  • Recurrent Cancer: This refers to cancer that was previously treated, but has reemerged.

Contact Your Payson, AZ Cancer Experts

No matter what type or stage of bladder cancer you may be facing, the cancer treatment professionals at Palo Verde Cancer Specialists are committed to helping you beat it. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our 6 Phoenix cancer centers or ask any questions you may have. Working together, we’ll help you beat cancer on your own terms and reclaim a healthy, normal lifestyle.

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