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Types of bladder cancer

Bladder cancers are named for the type of cell they start in. The cancer type affects how likely the disease is to spread.

Five types of cancer can develop in the bladder. According to the American Cancer Society, they are: 

  • Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Named for the layer of cells lining the inside of the bladder, TCC is by far the most common form of bladder cancer. There are several subgroups, some more likely to spread than others. If you have TCC, ask your doctor to explain which type you have.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 1% to 2% of bladder cancers. Nearly all cancers of this type are likely to spread.
  • Adenocarcinoma accounts for about 1% of bladder cancers and is very likely to spread.
  • Small cell carcinoma accounts for less than 1% of bladder cancers.
  • Sarcomas are very rare and start in the muscle cells of the bladder.
  • Reviewed 11/18/2020

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