Blue Light technology helps detect more bladder cancer lesions

WHEELING – A new, blue light technology now being used at Wheeling Hospital allows doctors to better detect bladder cancer – the fourth most common cancer in men and the eighth in women.

Making the announcement during a press conference Thursday were Dr. Gregory Merrick, director of the hospital’s Schiffler Cancer Center; Dr. Hugo Andreini of the hospital’s Center for Urology; and Dr. Angelo Georges, chief medical officer.

Traditional cystoscopy uses white light for detection of cancerous lesions, while the new, fluorescent technology, called Cysview, uses blue light. During the procedure, a dye is injected into the bladder. After one hour of allowing the cells to take in the dye, the cells turn red so the lesions better stand out on a blue background, Andreini said.

Merrick noted bladder cancer is not a well-known disease, and because of that it typically does not receive much attention in terms of research and funding.

”To have something new is a big deal. I’m excited for our staff and, most importantly, for our patients,” Merrick said. ”It affects 75,000 Americans every year with about 15,000 deaths.”

The blue light will allow 20 percent more tumors to be detected and removed. And this will decrease the rate of recurring tumors by 20 percent in a four-year period.

”This is important because recurrences are usually of a higher grade and a higher stage. … It substantially reduces the cost of bladder cancer treatment,” Merrick said.

Andreini noted white light still is used in conjunction with the blue light because it is better for actual removal of the tumors.

”We’ve been using it, and we’re excited to have it,” he said. ”It finds tumors we can’t see under white light.”

Often the first sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. The leading cause of bladder cancer is smoking.

In addition to Wheeling Hospital, Cysview also is being used at the Mayo Clinic; the Cleveland Clinic; MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville; University of Iowa Hospital Cancer Clinic, Iowa City; Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia; Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, W.Va.; the University of North Carolina Health Care System, Chapel Hill, N.C.; University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; St. Luke’s Warren Hospital, Phillipsburg, N.J.; Methodist Hospital, Houston; Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.; the University of Wisconsin Medical Center, Madison; and the Lexington Medical Center, West Columbia, S.C.