Bladder Cancer-Shedding “Blue” Light On Detection and Treatment

Blood mixed with any bodily fluids, such as sputum and stool is worthy of medical attention. However, blood in the urine is particularly ominous and requires prompt medical attention.
Bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer worldwide, with more than 380,000 new cases each year and more than 150,000 deaths per year. It is more common in elderly and affects approximately four times the number of men than women. The US National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be 72,570 new cases of bladder cancer in the US in 2013 and 15,210 deaths.

If detected at an early stage, this cancer can be successfully treated and has a good prognosis. Nearly half of bladder cancer patients will experience cancer recurrence. A new technique, blue-light cystoscopy, is an improved option for the diagnosis and the treatment in order to reduce the recurrence of bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the bladder start to grow out of control, typically on the inner layers of the bladder. Some may spread into the deeper layers of the bladder, eventually penetrating the walls of the bladder, making it much harder to treat.

The most common initial sign of bladder cancer is hematuria or blood in the urine. A look into the bladder with a lighted tube or cystoscopy is recommended in all patients with symptoms suggestive of bladder cancer. This test is done in the doctor’s office and requires a local anesthetic to reduce the paint and discomfort of the procedure. There are two forms of bladder cancer: non-muscle invasive and muscle invasive bladder cancer.

Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer accounts for about 75% of all newly diagnosed bladder cancer cases. Most of these cases show a high probability of recurrence and 10-20 % will progress to muscle invasive bladder cancer. The treatment will consist of using a cystoscope to remove the affected bladder areas followed by post–operative treatment options such as early instillation of chemotherapy or instillation of BCG which stimulates an immune response to prevent recurrence of the cancer.

Cysview is a new modality for detecting bladder cancer. Cysview is a chemical agent used to detect early bladder cancer. This agent is instilled into the bladder prior to cystoscopy and will stain or highlight bladder cancer when using a blue light inside the bladder much more effectively than using the standard white light of the conventional cystoscope. As a result the blue light cystoscopy using Cysview exposes cancer earlier when it is confined to the lining of the bladder and is easily treatable by removing the tumor using the cystoscope. Also the blue light treatment leads to improved tumor removal, since every tumor detected can be removed at the time of diagnosis and not requiring any additional procedures.

Bottom Line: Cancer of the bladder is a common urologic condition. The hallmark symptom is blood in the urine, either microscopic or visible to the eye. A new diagnostic option is the use of blue light Cysview that helps with the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. For more information see your urologist.

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