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Stages of Bladder Cancer

If bladder cancer is diagnosed, the doctor needs to know the stage, or extent, of the disease in order to recommend a treatment plan. Staging is used to find out whether the cancer has reached the bladder wall, whether the disease has spread beyond the bladder, and, if so, to which parts of the body.

These are the main features of each stage of the bladder cancer:

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in situ) - The cancer cells are found only on the surface of the inner lining of the bladder. The doctor may call this superficial cancer or carcinoma in situ.

Stage I - The cancer cells are found deep in the inner lining of the bladder. They have not spread to the muscle of the bladder.

Stage II - The cancer cells have spread to the muscle of the bladder.

Stage III - The cancer cells have spread through the muscular wall of the bladder to the layer of tissue surrounding the bladder. The cancer cells may have spread to the prostate (in men) or to the uterus or vagina (in women).

Stage IV - The cancer extends to the wall of the abdomen or to the wall of the pelvis. The cancer cells may have spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body far away from the bladder, such as the lungs.