Overview of the types of bladder cancer

The urinary bladder is formed by different types of cells. Any of these cells can develop cancer cells. Most likely the cancer will develop in the cells lining the bladder wall. The bladder cancer types are named for the different cell types.

One type is urothelial carcinoma or transitional cell carcinoma. The transitional cells are normal cells that make up the bladder lining. These cells expand as the bladder fills with urine. Then they contract when the urine leaves the body. These cells change to exhibit the traits and growth pattern of cancer cells. This is the most common bladder cancer.

At times urothelial carcinoma takes the form of papillary tumors. These tumors are narrow and finger-like. The doctor can remove these tumors; however, there is a chance they will grow back.

Bladder cancer can also develop as carcinoma in situ (CIS). CIS is a flat, red patch that is likely to be fast growing. There is a high risk that this will grow back.

Picture showing four different types of bladder cancerSquamous cell carcinoma is another type of cancer. The squamous cells are thin, flat cells of the bladder. The cancer begins in these cells usually after a long period of inflammation or irritation.

A third type is called adenocarcinoma. This type of cancer affects the glandular cells. The glandular cells in the bladder produce mucus.

It is also possible for a patient to have cancer in another area of the body and it spreads to the bladder. For example the cancer could have spread from the prostate, ovary, or cervix to the bladder. This is called secondary cancer. In this case the treatment will be based on where the primary cancer is located.

Many doctors will classify bladder cancer as either superficial or invasive. When only the the bladder’s innermost lining is affected it is superficial bladder cancer. When the cancer has spread into the bladder wall’s muscle layer it is invasive bladder cancer.

Urothelial carcinoma is known as a superficial bladder cancer. This is because normally this type of cancer goes no deeper than the bladder’s innermost lining.

Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma are known as invasive. This is because they usually have spread into the muscular layer of the bladder by the time they are detected. Treatment for invasive bladder cancers is more intensive than superficial bladder cancer.

The different types of bladder cancer have their own specific treatments and concerns. It is important for the doctor to diagnose the exact bladder cancer to provide the best care for the patient.