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HealthSheets™

Grading of Bladder Cancer

Once cancer has been diagnosed, the next step is to choose the best way to treat it. To help do this, your doctor checks what the cancer cells look like (the cancer grade).

Grade: What the Cancer Cells Look Like

The grade of bladder cancer is found by looking at cancer cells under a microscope. The grade is based on what the cancer cells look like and how many cells are multiplying. The higher the grade, the more uneven the cells are and the more cells are multiplying. High-grade cancers are more likely to grow and spread quickly. Knowing the grade can help your doctor predict how fast the cancer will grow and spread.

Cancer cells

Low Grade

Low-grade (well-differentiated) cells look relatively normal. A few of the cells vary in size. Some of the cells are multiplying.

Cancer cells

High Grade

High-grade (poorly differentiated) cells are very uneven in shape. They vary widely in size. Almost all of the cells are multiplying.

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