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Metastatic bladder cancer is cancer that has spread from its original location in the bladder. This is sometimes referred to as "deep" or "invasive" bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer that has spread into nearby structures, such as the connective tissues and muscles that make up the bladder wall, is considered to be metastatic bladder cancer, but this term is more commonly used to refer to cancer that has spread to lymph nodes and/or other organs. Cancer tends to spread by entering the lymphatic system, at which point it can spread throughout the body. Low-grade bladder cancers are less likely to metastasize than high-grade bladder cancers.

If cancerous cells accumulate outside the bladder – e.g., in the prostate gland or the uterus – the resulting tumors are called "secondary" tumors. Even though they are located elsewhere, these tumors still carry the same characteristics of primary bladder cancer and are generally treated in the same way. That said, metastatic bladder cancer often requires systemic treatment, which can destroy abnormal cells throughout the entire body. Surgery is not usually recommended for bladder cancer that has spread to other organs, although there are some situations in which it may be used to relieve symptoms related to a secondary tumor.

Common questions about metastatic bladder cancer

Moffitt Cancer Center is here to help with any questions that you might have about metastatic bladder cancer. Please take a look through the following articles:

If you’d like to learn more about metastatic bladder cancer treatment at Moffitt, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to request an appointment. Referrals are welcome, but never required. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we treat patients with all types and stages of bladder cancer. Our oncologists have seen almost every situation, including extensive and distant metastases, and have the experience needed to provide comprehensive, individualized treatment.

check mark symbol Medically reviewed by Scott Gilbert, MD, Genitourinary Oncology Program.