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Stages of Bladder Cancer

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    When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

    The following stages are used for bladder cancer:

    Stage 0 (Papillary Carcinoma and Carcinoma in Situ)

    In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in tissue lining the inside of the bladder. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is divided into stage 0a and stage 0is, depending on the type of the tumor:

    • Stage 0a is also called papillary carcinoma, which may look like tiny mushrooms growing from the lining of the bladder.
    • Stage 0is is also called carcinoma in situ, which is a flat tumor on the tissue lining the inside of the bladder.

    Stage I

    In stage I, cancer has formed and spread to the layer of tissue under the inner lining of the bladder.

    Stage II

    In stage II, cancer has spread to the muscle wall of the bladder.

    Stage III

    In stage III, cancer has spread from the bladder to the fatty layer of tissue surrounding it and may have spread to the reproductive organs (prostate, seminal vesicles, uterus, or vagina).

    Stage IV

    In stage IV, one or more of the following is true:

    • Cancer has spread from the bladder to the wall of the abdomen or pelvis.
    • Cancer has spread to one or more lymph nodes.
    • Cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lung, bone, or liver.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: February 25, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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