Advertisement

How do doctors categorize urinary system cancers?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Doctors categorize urinary system cancers using a staging system that is based on how much the cancer has grown and spread within the body. A person's treatment plan and predicted survival rate will be based on the stage of their particular case of urinary system cancer. For urinary system cancers, such as bladder or kidney cancer, most doctors use a staging system designed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), which is also known as the TNM system because it uses T to indicate tumor size or how far the tumor has grown, N to indicate whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and M to indicate whether the cancer has metastasized or spread to other organs. Numbers or letters are combined with T, N, and M to provide such details as severity and availability of relevant information. After the T, N, and M categories are determined, the cancer is assigned a stage using a four-level staging system of I, II, III, or IV. Sometimes an additional lower level of 0 is included in this staging system, such as with bladder cancer. The lower the stage, the better the outlook for the person with the cancer in terms of treatment options and projected survival rate.

Continue Learning about Genitourinary Cancers

Do urinary system cancers affect men differently than women?
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhDDr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Most types of urinary system cancers are much more common in men than in women. For example, in 2009...
More Answers
How do medications treat urinary system cancers?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Some kinds of urinary system cancers are treated with chemotherapy, which utilizes medications or dr...
More Answers
What increases my risk for urinary system cancers?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
There are a variety of risk factors that can increase the likelihood that you will develop urinary s...
More Answers
How does biological therapy treat urinary system cancers?
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhDDr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Biological therapy, also known as biologic therapy, biotherapy, and immunotherapy, uses drugs or oth...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.