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Bladder cancer stages and types

Last updated on : 16 May, 2024

Read time : 8 min

What is Bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer happens when the cells that form the urinary bladder start to grow out of control. As even more cancer cells form and they grow into a tumour and over time, spread to other areas of the body.

The bladder is an organ in the lower pelvis that is hollow. It has walls that can stretch and are intense. The main job of the bladder is to hold urine. Urine is liquid waste made by the two kidneys. Two tubes called ureters carry urine to the bladder. When you urinate, the muscles in your bladder stiffen, forcing urine out through a tube called the urethra.

Many times, people with bladder cancer will see blood in their urine, which is called hematuria. This is the first sign that shows something is wrong with their bladder. Urine may turn orange, pink, or dark red because of the blood. If these signs you see consult the doctor and examine as soon as possible.

Sometimes, the colour of the urine is normal but small amounts of blood are found in the urine test. One day, blood might be there, but the next, it might not be. The urine might stay clear for weeks or months. It’s not the same for people who have bladder cancer. At some point, the blood comes back.

Different types of bladder cancer

It’s possible to have different types of bladder cancer. In your bladder, different types of cells can become cancerous, and they can happen at the same time. Because the type of cancer starts in a type of bladder cell, the types of bladder cancer will be different from one another. 

1. Urothelial carcinoma

It is the most common type of bladder cancer. Urothelial carcinoma used to be called transitional cell carcinoma, but now it’s called Urothelial carcinoma. It happens to cells that line the inside of the bladder. When your bladder is full, your urothelial cells grow. When your bladder is empty, your urothelial cells shrink. Cancer can grow there, too. The cells that line the inside of the ureters and the urethra are the same ones that are found there. 

2. Cancer of the squamous cell

Squamous cell carcinoma is caused by long-term irritation of the bladder, such as from an infection or from long-term use of a urinary catheter, which can cause it. People in the United States aren’t very likely to get squamous cell bladder cancer, though. The parasitic infection schistosomiasis is more common in parts of the world where bladder infections are caused by this infection, so it is more common there.

3. Adenocarcinoma

When adenocarcinoma starts, it starts in cells that make up the mucus-secreting glands in the bladder. Adenocarcinoma of the bladder is very, very, very rare.

Badder cancer stages

It’s important to know your bladder cancer stages. There is a standard way for cancer to say how far cancer has spread? This is called a “stage system.” These three things are observed: How far along the cancer is, How many tumours there are, and How many cells there are?

1.”T” (Tumour)

The letter indicated tells you how far the main tumour has grown through the bladder wall or if it has spread to other parts of the body. It shows how far the main tumour has grown into the bladder wall.

2. “N” (Lymph nodes)

It means any cancer that has spread to lymph nodes near the bladder. Small groups of immune system cells called lymph nodes are where many types of cancer spread first.

3. “M” (Metastasized)

This means that cancer has spread to other places, like other organs like the lungs or liver or lymph nodes that aren’t near the bladder.

After T, N, and M, your doctor will give you a number or letter. Cancer has spread more as the count gets higher.

After figuring out your T, N, and M stages, your doctor will use this information to figure out what stage of cancer you have overall. From 0 to the Roman numeral IV. Here are the stages mentioned What does each stage mean?

Stage 0: Your bladder cancer has only spread to the middle of your bladder. It hasn’t spread to your bladder wall’s tissues or muscles. It hasn’t spread to your lymph nodes or any other organs.

Stage I: Cancer has spread to the inner lining of your bladder but not to the muscle that makes up the wall of your bladder. It hasn’t also spread to your lymph nodes or other organs much aside.

Stage II: Cancer has spread through your bladder’s connective tissue and into the muscle layer.

Stage III: Cancer spread to the layer of tissue that includes your bladder. It could also be in your vagina, uterus, or prostate. But it hasn’t spread to lymph nodes nearby or organ systems in other parts of the body.

Stage IV: It may include any of the following:

  • Your bladder cancer has moved to your pelvic or abdominal wall. But it hasn’t gone to lymph nodes or other organs far away.
  •  It has moved to lymph nodes nearby. But it hasn’t spread to organs that are far away.
  • Cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or other parts of your body, such as your bones, liver, or lungs.

If you know more about how far along your bladder cancer is, then you and your doctor be able to choose the best treatment for you.

Bladder cancer symptoms

  • Most of the time, it’s caused by something else, like an infection, benign tumours, stones in the kidney or bladder, or other benign kidney diseases. But still, a doctor should look into it so the real reason can be found.
  • Changes in how you use your bladder or signs of irritation
  • There are some times when bladder cancer can cause changes in how often people urinate, such as:
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning when you pee
  • Feel like you need to go right away, even if your bladder isn’t full at all
  • Having to go to the bathroom a lot during the night
  • If these bladder cancer symptoms happen, they’re more likely to be caused by an infection in the urinary tract (UTI), stones in the bladder, an overactive bladder, or a large prostate (in men). To be sure, it’s still important to have them checked out by a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated if necessary.

Advanced bladder cancer symptoms

Other bladder cancer symptoms may also be caused by bladder cancers that have grown or spread to other parts of the body. These include things like:

  • Being unable to pee
  • On one side of my back, I have pain.
  • People who don’t eat much and lose weight
  • When you’re tired or weak.
  • In the feet, there is swelling.
  • Pain in the bones

Bladder cancer causes

Hematuria is a condition when there is blood in the urine.
Tests for general urine aren’t used to make sure that someone has bladder cancer because other things can cause hematuria that is not cancer, like an infection or kidney stones. In cytology, urine is looked at under a microscope to look for cancer cells. Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer and tests can be used to find out if someone has cancer.

Often, when bladder cancer first shows up, cancer has spread to another part of the body. If cancer has spread to other parts of the body, then the symptoms will be different, too.

Among other things, people who have cancer that has spread to their lungs might cough or have trouble breathing, people who have cancer that has spread to their liver might be sick or have yellow skin and eyes, and people who have cancer that has spread to their bones might break bones (broken bone). Other signs of bladder cancer may include pain in the back or pelvis, a loss of appetite, and weight loss that doesn’t make sense.

Diagnosis and prevention of bladder cancer

Any changes you notice should be talked about with your doctor. If cancer is found, treating symptoms is still an important part of cancer care and treatment. Some people call this “palliative care.” It is usually started soon after the diagnosis and kept up through treatment.

There’s no way to guarantee that you won’t get bladder cancer, but you can take steps to lessen your chances. In this case, don’t smoke. If you don’t already smoke, don’t start. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about how to stop. Support groups, medications, and other things may help you stop. This is what you should do to help yourself. Take care when working with chemicals.

If you work with chemicals, be sure to follow all safety rules to keep yourself from getting hurt. People who want to stay healthy should eat a diet that is full of a lot of different kinds of colourful fruits and vegetables People who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables may be less likely to get cancer.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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