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Advanced bladder cancer staging

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

Locally advanced bladder cancer

If your cancer has grown through the bladder wall or has spread to lymph nodes but no further, it is called locally advanced bladder cancer.

Advanced bladder cancer

In advanced bladder cancer your cancer has spread outside the bladder, it might have spread into the lymph nodes. It has spread to another part of the body such as the lungs, bones or liver.

The stages of advanced bladder cancer

Your doctor diagnoses advanced bladder cancer by looking at how far the cancer has spread outside of the bladder. This is called the T stage (T stands for tumour). Advanced bladder cancer can include any size of tumour in the bladder (any T).

You doctor also looks at:

  • which lymph nodes the cancer has spread to (this is called the N stage)
  • whether the cancer has spread (metastasised) to other parts of the body (this is called the M stage)

Advanced bladder cancer is:

  • cancer in any number of lymph nodes (any N)
  • cancer that has spread to another part of the body, such as the lungs, bones or liver (M1)
Diagram showing advanced bladder cancer


The stage of your cancer helps your doctor to decide which treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:

  • your type of cancer (the type of cells the cancer started in)
  • where the cancer is
  • other health conditions

If your cancer has spread to another body organ, then unfortunately, treatment is not likely to cure it. But it may control it for some time and help to reduce symptoms. Treatments may include:

  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • surgery
  • other treatments to relieve symptoms

Information and help

Dangoor sponsorship

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.