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T Stages of Bladder Cancer

T Stages of Bladder Cancer

In this article we look at the stages of bladder cancer, focusing specifically upon the T stages. The T stage indicates how far into the bladder the cancer cells have grown.

Staging bladder cancer

When staging cancer, doctors talk about 'TMN'. This stands for tumour, nodes and metastasis:-

  • T stands for tumour. It signifies the size of the tumour and how far it has grown into the surrounding tissue. It ranges from T1 (a small tumour) to T4 (a large tumour).
  • N stands for nodes. It signifies the extent to which the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. It ranges from N0 (no lymph nodes are affected) to N3 (lots of lymph nodes have become cancerous).
  • M stands for metastasis. It signifies whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. It ranges from M0 (the cancer has not spread) to M1 (the cancer has spread).

The TMN system is therefore very useful as it allows medical professionals to determine how far advanced the bladder tumour is. This in turn will dictate the type of treatment needed.

The T stages of bladder cancer

The 'T' part of TMN tells you how far into the bladder the cancer cells have grown. Doctors discover this by looking at the grade of the cancer cells after a biopsy examination of the bladder (which takes place under general anaesthetic), and a CT scan/MRI scan.

The T stages of bladder cancer can be defined as follows:

  • CIS: very early, high grade cancer cells are detected only in the innermost layer of the bladder lining.
  • Ta: the cancer is just in the innermost layer of the bladder lining.
  • T1: the cancer has started to grow into the connective tissue beneath the bladder lining.
  • T2: the cancer has grown through the connective tissue into the muscle.
  • T2a: the cancer has grown into the superficial muscle.
  • T2b: the cancer has grown through the muscle into the deeper muscle.
  • T3: the cancer has grown through the muscle into the fat layer.
  • T3a: the cancer in the fat layer can only be seen under a microscope (microscopic invasion).
  • T3b: the cancer in the fat layer can be seen on tests, or felt by your doctor during an examination under anaesthetic (microscopic invasion).
  • T4: the cancer has spread outside the bladder.
  • T4a: the cancer has spread to the prostate, womb or vagina.
  • T4b: the cancer has spread to the wall of the pelvic or abdomen.

Bladder cancer prognosis

As with all types of cancer, if bladder cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, a patient stands a good chance of making a full recovery. The prognosis will become increasingly poor the more advanced the cancer becomes.

If there is a delay in diagnosis and this is because of medical error, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim. Contact us today for more information about claiming compensation for a delayed diagnosis of bladder cancer.

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