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Understand Bladder Cancer Staging

At Dignity Health, our oncologists determine the stage of your cancer to guide treatment.

To learn more about bladder cancer staging in the Bay Area, meet with one of our experienced oncologists at Dignity Health. For the expertise you deserve, Find a Doctor.

How is Bladder Cancer Staged?

Dignity Health doctors use surgery and imaging tests, such as CT and MRI scans, to determine the specific clinical stage of bladder cancer. The stage of your cancer depends on several factors, including: 

  • Whether your cancer has spread to other organs in your body
  • How deep the tumor is located in your bladder wall
  • Whether cancer cells are in your lymph nodes, which increases the risk of cancer spreading from your bladder to other organs

If you’d like to meet with a doctor to learn more about staging, visit one of our Dignity Health's four Bay Area hospitals.

The Five Stages of Bladder Cancer

The stages of bladder cancer use Roman numerals 0, I, II, III, and IV, with stage 0 being the least serious and IV (four) being the most advanced.

Stage 0 Bladder Cancer

Stage 0 bladder cancer is found only in the lining of the bladder. In most cases, your doctor removes these tumors and no further treatment is needed. Your doctor may recommend intravesical therapy, which is chemotherapy or immunotherapy drugs.

Stage I Bladder Cancer

In this early stage bladder cancer, the tumor has spread to the layer of tissue right under your bladder. Most often, treatment is both surgery and intravesical therapy.

Stage II Bladder Cancer

If you have stage II (two) bladder cancer, it means the disease has spread deeper into the muscles of your bladder wall. Treatment is surgery to remove your bladder and systemic chemotherapy before or after your procedure.

Stage III Bladder Cancer

Stage III (three) bladder cancer means that it has spread beyond your bladder. Your doctor removes your bladder and you’ll have chemotherapy before and possibly afterwards. If you can’t have surgery, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation may be an option.

Stage IV Bladder Cancer

Stage IV (four) bladder cancer means the cancer has spread to your abdominal wall or to lymph nodes and body sites nearby. Treatment involves chemotherapy with or without radiation. This may help slow the cancer and make you more comfortable.

Visit a Dignity Health hospital in the Bay Area to receive expert care for bladder cancer staging in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.