Diagnosing and Treating All Bladder Cancer Stages in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey

Bladder cancer staging enables physicians to classify the extent of the disease’s progress, allowing them to develop a more effective treatment plan for each patient. At Regional Cancer Care Associates, we diagnose and treat patients with all stages of bladder cancer. Our care providers in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey use staging systems to pinpoint the progression of our patients’ conditions and help them achieve a better standard of living.

Model bladder next to stethoscope

TNM Classification

The TNM system – which stands for tumor (T), lymph node (N), and metastasis (M) – is one of the most common and effective tools used by physicians to classify cancers. Here’s how it works:

Tumor (T)

Oncologists first examine the tumor itself, evaluating for size and location. Oncologists use the letter T and the numbers 0 through 4 to efficiently describe both characteristics, as described here:

  • TX: The tumor cannot be evaluated.
  • T0: There is no evidence of a primary tumor.
  • Ta: The tumor, also called non-invasive papillary carcinoma, is found on a small section of tissue and can easily be removed via a procedure called transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT).
  • T1s: The tumor is found only on or near the bladder surface.
  • T1: The bladder tumor has spread to the connective tissue between the bladder lining and the muscles beneath.
  • T2: The tumor has spread to the muscle of the bladder wall.
  • T3: The bladder tumor has grown into the fatty tissue surrounding the bladder, called the perivesical tissue.
  • T4: The kidney tumor has spread to the abdominal or pelvic wall, a man’s prostate or seminal vesicle, or a woman’s uterus or vagina.

Node (N)

The second area for examination is the lymph nodes – the small, bean-shaped organs that fight infection. This classification is based on the number of nodes that have been affected:

  • NX: The regional lymph nodes cannot be evaluated.
  • N0: The cancer has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • N1: The cancer has spread to a single lymph node in the pelvis.
  • N2: The cancer has spread to two or more nodes in the pelvis.

Metastasis (M)

Finally, the oncologist will determine whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This stage of evaluation uses the following identifiers:

  • M0: The cancer has not metastasized (i.e., spread beyond the kidneys).
  • M1: The cancer has metastasized.

Cancer Stage Groups

After completing the necessary testing required by the TNM classification system, a patient’s kidney cancer will be assigned one of the following labels:

  • Stage 0: The cancer is found only on the inner lining, and cancer cells are grouped together and can easily be removed. The cancer may or may not be aggressive.
  • Stage I: The cancer has spread into the connective tissue, but not into lymph nodes or other organs.
  • Stage II: The cancer has spread into the muscle wall of the bladder, but not into the fatty tissue, lymph nodes, or other organs.
  • Stage III: The cancer has spread into the fatty tissue and lymph nodes, prostate, uterus, or vagina.
  • Stage IV: The cancer has spread into the pelvic wall, abdominal wall, or other parts of the body.

Fight Cancer with Us

By classifying the stage of a patient’s cancer, health care providers are better equipped to form an appropriate treatment plan. If you or your loved one suspect symptoms of bladder cancer, one of our expert oncologists at Regional Cancer Care Associates can evaluate your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and offer treatment. Schedule an appointment or learn more about bladder cancer stages by contacting us today.