Once the bladder cancer is diagnosed, your doctor may order some imaging tests to see if the cancer has spread to tissues near the bladder, nearby lymph nodes or to distant organs. Tests include: Intravenous pyelogram (IVP), retrograde pyelogram, chest x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, ultrasound and bone scan.
The following stages are used to classify the location, size and spread of the cancer, according to the TNM (tumor, lymph node and metastasis) staging system:
- Stage 0: Cancer cells are found only on the inner lining of the bladder (The doctor may call this carcinoma in situ – or “in its place”. This stage is also often called Stage Ta).
- Stage I: Cancer cells have proliferated to the layer beyond the inner lining of the urinary bladder but not to the muscles of the urinary bladder.
- Stage II: Cancer cells have proliferated to the muscles in the bladder wall but not to the fatty tissue that surrounds the urinary bladder.
- Stage III: Cancer cells have proliferated to the fatty tissue surrounding the urinary bladder and to the prostate gland, vagina or uterus, but not to the lymph nodes or other organs.
- Stage IV: Cancer cells have proliferated to the lymph nodes, pelvic or abdominal wall and/or other organs.
Recurrent : Cancer has recurred in the urinary bladder or in another nearby organ after having been treated.