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Most bladder cancers derive from the cells of the bladder’s inner lining. These cells can be damaged by toxins from cigarettes or other chemicals that accumulate in the urine and trigger cancer growth.

Bladder cancers fall into two main categories: (1) the more common low-grade, non-invasive bladder cancers that rarely spread outside the bladder and (2) potentially life-threatening high-grade and/or invasive bladder cancers. 

Blood in the urine is the most commonly associated symptom of bladder cancer. It occurs in the vast majority of cases and should always be evaluated by a doctor. Other symptoms include painful urination, urinary urgency, back or abdominal pain, loss of appetite and loss of weight.