Shining a blue light on bladder cancer
BY AMBER SMITH
Bladder cancers typically appear in multiple spots in the bladder, and they tend to recur.
So, patients undergo repeated cystoscopies, procedures in which doctors peer into their bladders with cameras in search of cancerous cells.
A new tool, available at Upstate, is helping to locate cancerous cells that previously may have gone unnoticed, says Upstate urologist Joseph Jacob, MD.
“It’s a new technology that solves a pretty big problem that we’ve had for years,” he explains.
He injects a medication into the bladder before the cystoscopy; it’s a contrast solution that is taken up by rapidly growing cells, such as bladder cancer cells. Jacob examines the bladder with regular white light. Then he turns on the blue light. Subtle cancer cells are suddenly revealed as bright pink targets. “It picks up these cancers that we weren’t picking up before.”
Jacob says Blue Light Cystoscopy can catch aggressive cancers before they invade the muscle of the bladder. It can also catch small cancers, reducing the recurrence rate and helping patients avoid repeated surgical procedures.