Skip to content

Bladder Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Stages of Bladder Cancer

    After bladder cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the bladder or to other parts of the body.

    The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the bladder lining and muscle or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

    Recommended Related to Bladder Cancer

    Understanding Bladder Cancer -- Symptoms

      In its early stages, bladder cancer may not have obvious symptoms. In the later stages, symptoms of bladder cancer may include: Bloody urine, most often painless, is the most common symptom. The urine color ranges from faintly rusty to deep red, sometimes containing blood clots. Blood traces, invisible to the naked eye, may show up in tests of urine samples. Frequent urinary tract infections, painful urination, a need to urinate often, and difficulty holding in urine. Weight loss...

    Read the Understanding Bladder Cancer -- Symptoms article > >

    • CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
    • Chest x-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
    • Bone scan: A procedure to check if there are rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells, in the bone. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive material collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.

    There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

    The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

    • Through tissue. Cancer invades the surrounding normal tissue.
    • Through the lymph system. Cancer invades the lymph system and travels through the lymph vessels to other places in the body.
    • Through the blood. Cancer invades the veins and capillaries and travels through the blood to other places in the body.
      1|2

      Today on WebMD

      bladder cancer x-ray
      Do you know the warning signs?
      man with a doctor
      Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
       
      sauteed cherry tomatoes
      Fight cancer one plate at a time.
      Lung cancer xray
      See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
       
      Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
      SLIDESHOW
      Bladder Sparing Cancer Treatment
      VIDEO
       
      Vitamin D
      SLIDESHOW
      Pets Improve Your Health
      SLIDESHOW
       

      WebMD Special Sections