After bladder cancer has been diagnosed, your healthcare team will need to determine how far the cancer has progressed—for example, is it confined to the bladder or has it spread to other organs? This information is used to "stage" the cancer. What stage your cancer is will help determine treatment. Computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray and bone scans may be used to help determine stage.
Bladder cancer staging uses a scale system that was established by the American Joint Committee on Cancer—called the TNM scale—to help classify these cancers using three key pieces of information:
Once the categories have been established, this information is used to assign an overall stage, which is expressed using the following numerals: