Bladder cancer - non-muscle invasive

Muscle invasive bladder cancer knows various stages, and your treatment will depend on the stage of your tumor. A tumor that grows in the bladder tissue but not into the muscle is called non-muscle invasive. This cancer or urothelial carcinoma grows in the lining of the bladder wall and that represents an early stage of the illness. Urothelial carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer: approximately 75% of all cases of bladder cancer start with this type. Two other types of bladder cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Bladder cancer that does grow into the stomach lining is called muscle invasive bladder cancer. Find more about this cancer type on this page

Visit our NKI Bladder Cancer Center for more information about our expertise, specialists, patient satisfaction rates, news, and innovation.

Find out more about the symptoms and the most commonly used diagnostic tests and treatment types for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer on this page.

Symptoms bladder cancer non-muscle invasive

Non-muscle invasive bladder tumors usually don't cause pains in the area and rarely lead to urinary problems. Some symptoms that may arise are: 

  • Blood in the urine (the most common symptom in both men and women)
  • Irritation during urination
  • An increased urge to urinate.

Symptoms that could signify a late-stage muscle invasive bladder tumor: 

  • pain in the pelvis
  • pain in the flank 
  • weight loss
  • noticeable mass in the lower abdomen
7 days

rapid diagnostics

You can usually get rapid diagnostics within seven days

Rapid Diagnostics for bladder cancer


If bladder cancer is suspected or if you are at risk of developing bladder cancer, you will need to undergo several diagnostic tests in order to diagnose or rule out bladder cancer. Your general physician can refer you to a urologist. This will happen if blood is found in your urine, or if your medical history is a cause for concern. Your medical history and urinary test alone are not enough to reach a diagnosis. The following tests can be done to reach a diagnosis:

Treatment options bladder cancer non-muscle invasive

Once we have collected all results from the various diagnostic tests, we will schedule a consultation for you and your urologist for the diagnosis. Your urologist can tell you what further diagnostic tests may be required, and what your treatment options are. The following results will be discussed: 

  • Diagnostic test results
  • The risk factor
  • The preliminary treatment plan
Depending on your risk factor (low, medium, or high), your general health and condition, and the consultation between you and your urologist, we will come up with a treatment plan together with you.
A TUR for bladder cancer is a standard treatment for bladder cancer. Depending on your risk factor, the procedure can be followed by:
  • Low risk group: one bladder irrigation
  • Medium risk group: multiple bladder irrigations
  • High risk group: an additional TUR for bladder cancer and multiple bladder irrigation procedures


After every cancer treatment, follow-up screenings are essential to minimize complications and to detect and treat potential recurrences early. The first check-up appointment will be three months after your treatment. You will schedule the remaining consultations with your urologist. Your urologist can also answer all your questions about your illness or related topics.


Bladder cancer can significantly affect the lives of patients and their loved ones. Bladder cancer patients often face specific problems with urination or sexuality as well as general side effects of cancer and its treatment, like fatigue, pain, social limitations, and mental health issues like anxiety or uncertainty. You can find support at our Survivorship Center.

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