Glowing Cancer

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POSTED: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 3:50pm

UPDATED: Monday, October 31, 2011 - 1:04pm

New technology helps doctors find cancerous cells by illuminating them with black-light.

Doctors have a new way of detecting tiny bladder cancer tumors by making them glow.

New technology called "Cysview" uses a combination of dye and fluorescent light to show surgeons small cancerous tumors that are undetectable using standard lights.

Dr. Stephen Jones of the Cleveland Clinic is one of a handful of urologists across the country using "Cysview."

"I could look and it appeared that everything was completely gone, and in the past I would have finished up the operation and gone away," he says.

About half of all bladder cancers recur after the first round of treatment, whether it's surgery, chemo or both.

Dr. Jones says it's likely that some of those recurrences are tumors that were missed during surgery.

When they're finally found, sometimes months or years later, they're bigger and more aggressive.

Patient Mark Grilli had a recurrence of bladder cancer.

"They actually found it was a higher grade, so now it spreads more quickly, and it grows more quickly. So they become a little more concerned," he says.

Dr. Jones used the new technology during Grilli's second surgery and says his chances of having another recurrence are now slimmer.

"The likelihood of having a recurrence goes down by about 20% in the patients who undergo fluorescent cystoscopy," Dr. Jones says.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Cysview last year.

Studies to gauge its safety are ongoing, but doctors say they haven't seen any major complications.
 

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