Bladder Cancer – Types & Stages

Oncology Treatment in Orange County, CA

At Orange County CyberKnife, our mission is to combine some of the most technologically advanced cancer treatment systems in the world with radiation oncologists, cancer treatment experts, and doctors at the top of their field. We are a comprehensive cancer treatment center serving the Orange County area, offering a variety of treatment solutions for bladder cancer or and many other types of cancer. No matter what you’re facing, OC CyberKnife is here to help – but it all starts with understanding the condition you’re fighting.

Types of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a blanket term that actually refers to a number of different types of cancer, each affecting different cells and regions of the bladder. Bladder cancers are classified as follows:

Urothelial Carcinoma (Transitional Cell Carcinoma)

By a large margin, Urothelial carcinoma, or transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), is the most common form of bladder cancer. TCC starts in the urothelial cells lining the inside of the bladder, and it accounts for almost all cases of bladder cancer.

Urothelial cells are not exclusive to the bladder, lining various other parts of the urinary tract like the urethra, the ureters, and the renal pelvis, which is the part of the kidney connecting to the ureter. For this reason, any patient diagnosed with bladder cancer needs to have their entire urinary tract checked for tumors, as they often can occur simultaneously in different areas.

Invasive vs. Noninvasive Bladder Cancer

In addition to the type of cell in which the cancer forms, bladder cancer is also classified based on how invasive it is – that is, how far the cancer has spread into the wall of the bladder. This classification system goes as follows:

  • Noninvasive: This refers to cancers that are still confined to the inner layer of cells, called the transitional epithelium. These cancers have not spread to deeper layers of the bladder wall.
  • Invasive: These are cancers that have spread into deeper layers of the bladder wall, making them more likely to spread further and more difficult to treat.
  • Nonmuscle Invasive (Superficial): This form of cancer describes noninvasive tumors as well as tumors that have grown deeper into the wall, but have not penetrated the main layer of muscles in the bladder wall.

Papillary vs. Flat Cancer

Bladder cancer is further classified into two subtypes called papillary and flat. This classification is based on how the tumor grows:

  • Papillary Carcinoma: This form grows in slender, fingerlike projections, usually moving from the inner surface of the bladder towards the hollow center. Often, these tumors grow towards the center but not into the deeper layers of the bladder wall, in a form called noninvasive papillary cancer. If the tumor is very slow-growing (lowgrade), noninvasive papillary cancer can also be called papillary urothelial neoplasm of low malignant potential (PUNLMP). This form of bladder cancer tends to have very good outlooks for patients.
  • Flat Carcinoma: This form doesn’t extend into the cavity of the bladder whatsoever, instead confining itself to the tissue of the bladder wall. If a flat tumor grows only within the inner layer of bladder cells, it’s known as a noninvasive flat carcinoma or a flat carcinoma in situ (CIS). However, if papillary or flat tumors grow deeper into the layers of the bladder wall, they’re classified as invasive urothelial (or transitional cell) carcinoma. TCC is a more dangerous condition that’s often harder to treat effectively.

Contact Your Orange County Oncologist Today

Even for the more serious forms of bladder cancer, there’s always hope. Revolutionary cancer treatments like the CyberKnife System can present non-invasive, non-surgical treatment options, helping more patients than ever overcome cancer and reclaim whole body health. If you’re interested in learning more about CyberKnife treatment, finding out if it may be right for you, or even getting a second opinion on your bladder cancer treatment recommendation, the radiation oncologists at OC CyberKnife would be thrilled to help. Call us today at 714.962.7100 or reach out to us at our contact page to schedule your consultation. When it comes to your cancer care, you deserve the absolute best – and that’s what OC CyberKnife is committed to providing.