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.


There are different types of bladder cancer. The most common type is transitional cell bladder cancer (also called urothelial cancer).


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

Grades of bladder cancer

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. 

Last reviewed: 
07 Jun 2019
Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer