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Bladder Cancer Types

Types of Bladder Cancer: Superficial Versus Invasive

Cancer that is confined to the lining of the bladder is called superficial bladder cancer. Your healthcare provider might also call this type of cancer "carcinoma in situ." Superficial bladder cancer often comes back after bladder cancer treatment. If this happens, the disease most often recurs as another superficial cancer in the bladder.
Cancer that begins in the transitional cells may spread through the lining of the bladder and invade the muscle wall. This is known as invasive cancer. Invasive cancer may extend through the bladder wall and it may grow into a nearby organ, such as the uterus or vagina (in women) or the prostate gland (in men). This type of bladder cancer may also invade the wall of the abdomen (stomach).

Metastatic Bladder Cancer

When bladder cancer spreads outside the bladder, cancer cells are often found in nearby lymph nodes. If the cancer has reached these lymph nodes, cancer cells may have spread to other lymph nodes or other areas, such as the lungs, liver, or bones. When cancer spreads (metastasizes) from its original place to another part of the body, the new tumor will have the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary tumor. For example, if bladder cancer spreads to the lungs, the cancer cells in the lungs are bladder cancer cells. The disease is called metastatic bladder cancer, not lung cancer, and it is treated as bladder cancer, not as lung cancer. Doctors usually call the new tumor "distant" disease.
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