Were You Diagnosed With Stage 0 Bladder Tumours? See the Treatment Your Doctor Will Likely Recommend

If bladder cancer is diagnosed early, probably at stage 0, it becomes easier to treat it. Treatment options for bladder cancer include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. However, the clinical stage of the tumour determines the treatment the patient gets. 'Stage' refers to how deep cancer has grown into the bladder and if the tumours have spread to other organs. Your treatment option could also depend on the tumour's size, your overall health and how fast the tumours grow. Learn more about bladder cancer at stage 0 and how it could be treated:

Stage 0

At stage 0, the tumours involve flat, non-invasive carcinomas and papillary carcinomas. In both cases, the tumours are only in the bladder's inner lining layer; they haven't spread deeper. At this stage, transurethral resection and intravesical therapy are used to treat the cancer of the bladder within 24 hours. The doctor uses a resectoscope to remove high-grade or low-grade tumours for lab tests. The patient is put either under regional or general anesthesia as the rigid cystoscope gets to the bladder through the urethra.

Low-Grade Stage 0 Tumours

With these tumours, further treatment isn't required, but cystoscopy is done every six months to find out if they have recurred. If the patient has slow-growing tumours (low-grade), they should start weekly intravesical chemotherapy a few weeks after transurethral resection. The treatment should be repeated if the tumours have come back. During intravesical therapy, the doctor puts liquid medication into the bladder, but they don't inject it into the blood or give it by mouth because it's ineffective sometimes. The drug gets to the bladder through the soft catheter. The medication stays in the bladder for about 2 hours to suppress the tumours in the bladder lining; it doesn't affect the cells in other organs.

High-grade Stage 0 Tumours

Non-invasive papillary tumours or fast-growing cancerous cells may recur after treatment. If the doctor feels the tumours would come back, they may give Bacilli Calmette-Guerin after surgery. The doctor may repeat transurethral resection to affirm the tumours haven't spread to the muscle layer. If you have high-grade tumours, intravesical BCG is more effective than intravesical chemotherapy. It doesn't only prevent a recurrence but also ensures the tumours don't get worse. Though high-grade tumours seem to spread fast, they can be treated using complete cystectomy instead of extensive surgery.


Close monitoring is required after treating any stage 0 tumours. The patient needs to go for cystoscopy every three months for several years to minimise the chances of new bladder tumours. Bladder tumours at stage 0a are superficial and aren't life-threatening. However, stage 0 tumours are likely to come back within a short time. They won't just grow into the bladder's deeper layers, but may also quickly spread to other tissues. Drugs–valrubicin, gemcitabine and mitomycin–used during intravesical chemotherapy or immunotherapy can effectively treat stage 0 bladder tumours. Talk to your doctor to learn more about bladder cancer treatment.