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Diagnosing Bladder Cancer Stages in Central California

Bladder cancer is broken into five stages — the higher numbers indicate more advanced disease. Bladder cancer staging is used by doctors at Dignity Health Central California to plan your treatment.

The stage of your cancer depends on: 

  • Whether cancer cells are in your lymph nodes, which increases the risk of cancer spreading from the bladder to other organs
  • How deep the tumor has grown into the wall of your bladder
  • Whether the cancer has metastasized (spread) to other organs

To learn more about bladder cancer staging in Central California, Find a Doctor online today.


Bladder Cancer Stages

Doctors use Roman numerals 0, I, II, III, and IV to stage bladder cancer. Stage 0 is the least extensive and IV (four) is the most advanced form of the disease. Your treatment options are based on the stage of bladder cancer. Lower stage cancers are more likely to respond to treatment.

Stage 0

Stage 0 bladder cancer is found only in the lining of the bladder. Typically, doctors can remove these tumors with no further treatment needed. In some cases, your doctor may recommend intravesical therapy, which uses chemotherapy or immunotherapy drugs.

Stage I

In stage I bladder cancer, the tumor has grown into the layer of tissue just below the bladder lining. Like stage 0, treatment for stage I bladder cancer usually involves surgery to remove the tumor with intravesical therapy afterwards. If your cancer is more aggressive your doctor may recommend more extensive surgery.

Stage II

Stage II bladder cancer has spread deeper, into the muscle of the bladder wall. It has not spread to distant body sites or to lymph nodes. The standard treatment at this stage includes surgery to remove the bladder with systemic chemotherapy before or after your procedure.

Stage III

Stage III cancers have grown through the bladder wall. It may have spread to the reproductive organs, but it has not grown into the abdominal wall, lymph nodes, or distant body sites. Treatment includes the removal of the bladder with chemotherapy before, and possibly after, surgery. For those who can’t have surgery, a combination of radiation and chemotherapy may be a treatment option.

Stage IV

Stage IV bladder cancer has spread to the abdominal wall, nearby lymph nodes, or distant body sites. Because the cancer is extensive, surgery usually can’t remove all of it. Instead, the main goal of treatment is to slow cancer growth and help you feel better. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy with or without radiation. 

Doctors find most bladder cancers in the early stages, but many other factors influence your doctor’s recommendations for treatment. Talk to your doctor about all the circumstances of your treatment plan as well as the risks and benefits of each option. At Dignity Health Central California, our primary goal is helping you choose the treatment with the best chance of success. 

Dignity Health Central California provides complete care for all stages of bladder cancer in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.