New Advancements in Detecting Bladder Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that 72,570 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

So recent advancements in the detection and accuracy of bladder cancer treatment are good news for patients and their families.

“Bladder tumors can be difficult to detect and have a high rate of recurrence,” said Dr. Chad R. Ritch, a urologic oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System.

Traditionally, when a tumor in the bladder is detected, doctors use white light cystoscopy to find and visualize the cancerous tissue as they scrape it from the bladder. However, when white light is used on its own, harder-to-see tumors can often be missed, leaving cancerous cells behind. This can result in recurrence or spread of the residual cancer cells deeper into the bladder.

But a new optical imaging agent called Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview® uses fluorescence-enhanced technology, enabling physicians at UHealth to see the tumors better and detect additional tumors that are often missed by standard white light cystoscopy. “This leads to a more accurate diagnosis of bladder cancer,” said Ritch.

UHealth is successfully using the technology, which makes hard-to-see tumors that may be present in the bladder more visible, standing out against normal tissue and making it easier to identify and remove them.

Blue Light Cystoscopy works by exploiting fluorescent properties of naturally occurring molecules which are then transformed into liquid and injected into the bladder one hour prior to the cystoscopy to coat its lining. Abnormal cancerous cells will absorb this molecule making them appear red when exposed to light from a specific wavelength. Physicians are then better able to detect and remove the red glowing cancer cells in contrast to normal tissue, which appears in blue.

Studies have shown that use of Blue Light Cystoscopy has resulted in a 16 percent increase in detection of bladder tumors and approximately 10 percent decrease in cancer recurrence. In addition, patients who undergo Blue Light Cystoscopy have a longer time to recurrence compared to those who have traditional white light cystoscopy.

The doctors and researchers at UHealth performed extensive analysis of the medical data on bladder cancer diagnosis and concluded that Blue Light Cystoscopy is recommended at the time of initial resection of stage 1 bladder cancer.

Being the only South Florida institution to offer patients Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview helps fulfill the Department of Urology’s commitment to advancing patient care in our field, says Dr. Dipen Parekh, a renowned urology expert.