Types and Stages

The Types and Stages of Bladder Cancer

Prior to patients in Palmer starting bladder cancer treatment, a diagnosis must be made. Part of the diagnostic process is determining the type of cancer affecting a patient and its stage. There are several different types of bladder cancer; these are among the most common.

Urothelial Carcinoma

Also called transitional cell carcinoma, this cancer is by far the most common type of bladder cancer diagnosed. Urothelial carcinoma begins in the urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder. However, urothelial cells are found throughout the urinary tract, including in the urethra, ureters, and in the renal pelvis – where the kidney connects to a ureter.  Because tumors may be present in any of these locations, the entire urinary tract needs to be checked.

Invasive and Non-Invasive Forms of Bladder Cancer

Along with describing which cells have become cancerous, the diagnostic process can also identify how far progressed the disease has become; in this case, the stage refers to how far the tumor has invaded the walls of the bladder. Two stages are described:

  • Invasive – These cancers have grown into deep layers of the bladder’s muscular walls. These are harder to treat and are more likely to spread.
  • Non-invasive – These cancers are still located in the thin top layers of cells, called the transitional epithelium; cancerous growth has not spread to deeper layers.

Flat and Papillary Cancers

Bladder cancer may also be described according to the growth patterns. Papillary carcinomas extend thin projections from the bladder’s inner surface towards the center. Flat cancers do not grow towards the hollow center.

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Support for Cancer Patients

The Mat-Su Valley Comprehensive Cancer Center is a specialty healthcare facility dedicated entirely to the treatment of many kinds of cancer. Our Palmer cancer center connects patients with surgeons and other specialists. Contact us today at (714) 962-7100.