About 9 out of 10 bladder cancers in the UK are urothelial cancer. This is also known as transitional cell bladder cancer. This type of bladder cancer develops from the cells of the bladder lining. These are called transitional cells. These cells come into contact with waste products in the urine that may cause cancer, such as chemicals from cigarette smoke.
Urothelial cancer can be categorised into non muscle invasive and muscle invasive.
In early bladder cancers (non muscle invasive) the cancer is only in the lining of the bladder and has not grown into the deeper layers of the bladder wall.
Invasive bladder cancer means that the cancer has grown into the deeper (muscle) layer of the bladder or beyond. Invasive bladder cancer needs more intensive treatment than early bladder cancer because there is a risk that it could spread to other parts of the body.