Types of Bladder Cancer

It can be helpful to understand the various types of bladder cancer since not all bladder cancers are the same, nor do they require the same treatment plans. Even two bladder cancers of the same type and stage will have their own subtleties and may react differently to treatments as a result.

Types of bladder cancer are usually named based on where or how they originate. Urothelial carcinoma accounts for the vast majority of bladder cancers, and occurs when a malignant tumor forms in the inside lining of the bladder, among the urothelial cells. Much less common, squamous cell carcinoma is the result of flat, scale-like cells (squamous cells) developing in the bladder lining as a result of irritation and swelling. These cells can become cancerous over time.

Other, even less common types of bladder cancer include:

  • Sarcoma – Starts in the muscle cells of the bladder
  • Adenocarcinoma – Has a great deal in common with the gland-forming cells of colon cancers
  • Small cell carcinoma – Start in nerve-like cells, and grow rapidly

In addition to being classified by type, these cancers might further be described by their growth patterns, with terms such as "noninvasive," "non-muscle invasive" or "muscle invasive." Noninvasive cancers are sometimes called "superficial" because they tend to grow only on the surface of the tissue. Non-muscle invasive cancers tend to grow a bit deeper, while muscle invasive cancers grow into the deeper muscle tissue.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, the multispecialty team in our Genitourinary Oncology Program will work together to diagnose your cancer and develop the best possible individualized treatment plan, always focused on preserving a positive quality of life. We are the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida, and one of just 45 across the country. Focused, individualized attention from leading experts in the research and treatment of all types of bladder cancer – that’s the kind of assurance you need to put your mind at ease.

You don’t need a referral to contact Moffitt Cancer Center, so call us at 1-888-663-3488, or fill out a new patient registration form online to begin exploring the ways in which we can partner with you to return you to health.