How is bladder cancer staged?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Kara N Babaian, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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The tumor, node, and metastasis (TNM) system developed by the International Union Against Cancer and the American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging is used to stage bladder cancer. [79] Ta and T1 tumors and CIS were once considered superficial bladder tumors. T2, T3, and T4 tumors were traditionally described as invasive bladder cancer. However, urologic oncologists now recommend avoiding the term superficial bladder cancer to describe Ta, T1, and CIS tumors because it is a misnomer and tends to group together patients who may require different treatments and who may have different prognoses.

Urothelial carcinoma is histologically graded as low grade or high grade. CIS is characterized by full mucosal thickness and high-grade dysplasia of the bladder epithelium and is associated with a poorer prognosis. Ta, T1, and CIS are categorized as non–muscle invasive while T2-T4 are muscle invasive.  [1]

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