Upstate shines light on bladder cancer
The Upstate Cancer Center has introduced a new weapon in the fight against bladder cancer.
It’s called Blue Light Cystoscopy and it helps doctors better detect and diagnose cancerous tumors in the bladder.
Upstate is the only facility offering this technology in the Central New York.
A key component of this new technique is the use of fluorescing agent, called Cysview, which is injected into the bladder and soaked up by cancer tumors giving them a pink glow so they can be easily spotted by doctors. Now with an enhanced image of the bladder, doctors can find even the smallest tumors in the fight against bladder cancer. Doctors say surveillance is key to treating bladder cancer, because undetected, tumors can grow and the cancer can spread.
“This technique is game-changer when it comes to keeping close watch on bladder cancer,” said Gennady Bratslavsky, MD, professor and chair of Upstate’s Department of Urology. “We now have a supercharged cystoscopy technique that highlights cancerous tumors as we have never seen them before. Using the Blue Light, we can spot tiny tumors and remove them to keep our patients healthy.”
How it works
About an hour before the procedure, doctors insert a catheter tube into the bladder and inject a clear solution into the bladder. The solution is soaked up by cancer tumors.
Once in the exam room, doctors will use two different lighted scopes, a White Light Cystoscopy and a Blue Light Cystoscopy. The White Light Cystoscopy illuminates the inside of the bladder to help doctors see any abnormalities. When doctors switch to the Blue Light Cystoscopy, tumors that have reacted to the Cysview solution appear bright pink, enabling doctors to better see tissue to biopsy.
“The best way to combat bladder cancer is to ensure patients undergo regular checks and to be vigilant about examining the bladder to see if new tumors have occurred,” said Joseph Jacob, MD, a fellowship-trained urologic oncologist who is director of the Bladder Cancer Program at Upstate. “This new procedure gives doctors a better opportunity to view the bladder and provides patients better peace of mind.”
On a trial basis, Upstate offered Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview beginning in January. Fifteen patients have been examined with this approach and all are responding well, Jacob said.
Bladder cancer affects more men than women and the likelihood of bladder cancer increases with age. About 9 out of 10 people with bladder cancer are older than 55, while the average age of diagnosis is 73. Kidney infections, kidney and bladder stones and long term use of bladder catheters have been linked to bladder cancer, but a causal relationship has not yet been established. Genetics and a family history of bladder cancer can also increase one’s risk of getting the disease.
Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer most often include blood in the urine. Blood may be colored orange or pink. Urine may be clear from time to time, but blood is likely to reappear. Blood in the urine may be symptomatic of other diseases, so consulting a physician at first signs of blood is important.
Other symptoms include changes in urination, including frequency, pain, and urgency to urinate.
Advanced bladder cancer can include the following symptoms: unable to urinate, lower back pain, weight loss, loss of appetite, lethargy, swelling in the feet, bone pain.
Treatments for bladder cancer can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and various other options.
Risk factors for bladder cancer include smoking, exposure to industrial chemicals called aromatic amines, such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine, arsenic in drinking water.
For more information on Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview, go to: http://www.upstate.edu/cancer/cancer-care/programs/bladder/blc.php
Caption: Joseph Jacob, MD, a fellowship-trained urologic oncologist who is director of the Bladder Cancer Program at Upstate, discusses Upstate’s use of blue-light technology to better identify bladder cancer. “This new procedure gives doctors a better opportunity to view the bladder and provides patients better peace of mind, ” he said.