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Bladder Cancer Types

Bladder cancer types include transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell bladder carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma. The most common among the bladder cancer types is transitional cell carcinoma. Bladder cancers can also be classified as belonging to one of two bladder cancer types: superficial bladder cancer or invasive bladder cancer. Metastatic bladder cancer is bladder cancer that has spread outside of the bladder.

Bladder Cancer Types: An Introduction

The wall of the bladder is lined with transitional cells and squamous cells. The types of bladder cancer affect these cells differently:
  • More than 90 percent of bladder cancers begin in the transitional cells. This type of cancer is called transitional cell carcinoma.
  • About 8 percent of people with bladder cancer have a second type known as squamous cell bladder carcinoma. 
  • About 2 percent of people with the condition have a third bladder cancer type, referred to as adenocarcinoma.
Bladder cancers are also identified as superficial or invasive. When the cancer has spread outside of the bladder, it is known as metastatic bladder cancer.

Transitional Cell Carcinoma

Transitional cell carcinoma begins in cells in the innermost tissue layer of the bladder. In this type of bladder cancer, the cells are able to stretch when the bladder is full and shrink when the bladder is emptied. Most bladder cancers begin in the transitional cells.

Squamous Cell Bladder Carcinoma

Squamous cell bladder carcinoma begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that may form in the bladder after a long-term infection or irritation.


Adenocarcinoma is bladder cancer type that begins in glandular (secretory) cells. Glandular cells, which are found in the lining of the bladder, make substances such as mucus.
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Bladder Cancer Information

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