What terms should be used for bladder cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Kara N Babaian, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Use of the common term superficial bladder cancer should be discouraged. The term implies a harmless nature, which is misleading in many instances. Because it was used to describe the disparate disorders of low-grade papillary bladder cancer and the markedly more aggressive form, carcinoma in situ (CIS), the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended it be abandoned.

In its place, the term non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer should be used and qualified with the appropriate American Joint Committee on Cancer stage (ie, Ta, T1, Tis). Stage T1 cancer invades lamina propria but not the muscle of the bladder. High-grade T1 tumor associated with CIS carries a relatively high risk for disease recurrence and progression (approximately 60%).

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