Shining a blue light on bladder cancer

Joseph Jacob, MD, demonstrates Blue Light Cystoscopy. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in American men, but it’s less common in women. The most common symptom is blood in the urine, which is never normal. (photo by Susan Kahn)

Upstate urologist Joseph Jacob, MD, demonstrates Blue Light Cystoscopy. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in American men, but it’s less common in women. The most common symptom is blood in the urine, which is never normal. (photo by Susan Kahn)

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.

HealthLink on Air logo(Click here to hear Jacob discuss Blue Light Cystoscopy in a podcast/radio interview with Upstate’s “HealthLink on Air.”)

To reach Upstate’s department of urology, click here   or call 315-464-1500.

cover of summer 2019 Cancer Care magazineThis article appears in the summer 2019 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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