Many bladder tumors begin as a polyp, or a papillary tumor (on a stalk). Some are slower growing (low grade). These types of tumors are removed completely by transurethral resection, have low risk of progression, and most often do not need further treatment.
Tumors that are faster growing (high grade) may still be superficial in nature, and removed completely by a transurethral resection. The high grade tumors must be monitored closely because they recur more frequently and grow faster than lower grade tumors
Invasive tumors begin to invade into the bladder wall itself. Invasion into the lamina propria connective tissue layer of the bladder suggest a more aggressive form of the bladder cancer and needs further treatment such as repeat resection of the tumor area, BCG treatments and possible chemotherapy.
When a bladder tumor becomes muscle invasive then more aggressive surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments are needed.
In advanced disease, chemotherapy is used. Sadly, advanced bladder cancer has a very high rate of morbidity and mortality.
The same type of cells that line the bladder also line the ureter and the kidney. these are tumors that are not as common, but must be treated aggressively.
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