Decorative image

Types, stages and grades

The type of a cancer tells you what type of cell it started in. The grade tells you how much the cancer cells look like normal cells. The stage tells you the size of the cancer and whether it has spread. All this information helps your doctor decide which treatment you need.

Types

There are different types of bladder cancer. The most common type is transitional cell bladder cancer.

Stages

Your doctor may stage bladder cancer as early, invasive or advanced. Or they may use the TNM staging system. Find out more.

Grades

Cancer cells are split into 3 grades (from 1 to 3) depending what they look like under the microscope. The grade gives doctors an idea of how the cancer might behave.

Early (non muscle invasive) bladder cancer staging

In early bladder cancer the cancer cells are only in the inner lining of the bladder. It is also called superficial bladder cancer.

Invasive bladder cancer staging

Invasive bladder cancer means the cancer has spread into or through the muscle layer of the bladder. 

Advanced bladder cancer staging

Advanced bladder cancer means that the cancer has spread outside the bladder.

Information and help