Bladder cancer stages

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Before describing bladder cancer stages below it is worth explaining why this process is so important. Staging refers to how advanced the tumour has grown both locally or spread elsewhere. There are a number of staging systems used throughout the world but the most popular are the TNM (size of local tumour, whether spread to local lymph nodes, whether metastasied) bladder cancer stage is described using this system.  Other tumour use a number of other systems such as AJCC, FIGO (gynaecological tumours), Duke's (colorectal carcinoma) and Ann Arbor classification (lymphoma). The main advantages of an internationally agreed staging system are:-

There are four main bladder cancer stages:

I - The tumour has spread only into loose tissue beneath the lining (lamina propria) but not into the bladder’s muscular wall or beyond. No lymph nodes are involved.

II - Tumour has invaded into the muscle wall (muscularis propria) of the bladder but has not spread to lymph nodes or other sites in the body

III - Tumour has invaded through the muscle wall (muscularis propria) of the bladder to involve the soft tissue around the bladder or has invaded adjacent organs including the prostate, uterus or vagina. No lymph nodes or other distant sites in the body are involved at this stage.

IV- Tumour has extended out of the bladder to invade the pelvic or abdominal wall, but does not involve lymph nodes or other distant sites in the body OR tumor has spread to involve lymph nodes and/or other distant sites in the body

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