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Stages of Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter

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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 transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and/or ureter:

    Stage 0 (Papillary Carcinoma and Carcinoma in Situ)

    In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in tissue lining the inside of the renal pelvis or ureter. 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 tumor:

    • Stage 0a may look like tiny mushrooms growing from the tissue lining the inside of the renal pelvis or ureter. Stage 0a is also called noninvasive papillary carcinoma.
    • Stage 0is is a flat tumor on the tissue lining the inside of the renal pelvis or ureter. Stage 0is is also called carcinoma in situ.

    Stage I

    In stage I, cancer has formed and spread through the lining of the renal pelvis and/or ureter, into the layer of connective tissue.

    Stage II

    In stage II, cancer has spread through the layer of connective tissue to the muscle layer of the renal pelvis and/or ureter.

    Stage III

    In stage III, cancer has spread:

    • From the renal pelvis to tissue or fat in the kidney; or
    • From the ureter to fat that surrounds the ureter.

    Stage IV

    In stage IV, cancer has spread to at least one of the following:

    • A nearby organ.
    • The layer of fat surrounding the kidney.
    • One or more lymph nodes.
    • Distant parts of the body, such as the lung, liver, or bone.

    Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter is also described as localized, regional, or metastatic:

    Localized

    The cancer is found only in the kidney.

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