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Blue Light Special: A Revolution in Bladder Cancer Treatment

Procedure now available at LVHN improves effectiveness of tumor removal

LVHN blue light cystoscopy
Image on left shows a bladder tumor using white light illumination, while the image on right shows an illuminated bladder tumor after application of Cysview imaging solution and use of blue light.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) bladder cancer patients now have a new ally in bladder cancer surgery: blue light cystoscopy. 

With the procedure, bladder cancer cells absorb a special imaging solution that causes cancer cells to glow fluorescent pink under the blue light, making it easier to see the exact extent of the cancerous growth.

LVHN is the only health care network in the region to offer the procedure.

Improved bladder cancer tumor visibility

Joseph Feliciano, MD, with LVPG Urology, is one LVHN physician who is using blue light cystoscopy. He says it allows for more complete tumor removal, especially around the edges of the tumor. In addition, it allows the physician to spot other tumors that may not have shown up in the prior office cystoscopy, where white light and no imaging solution are used.

“Think of this in terms of driving down the road at night and seeing a deer on the side of the road,” Dr. Feliciano says. “The car headlights spot just that one deer, but if infrared light is used, you see all the other deer farther back off the road. Likewise, being able to better see the edges of bladder tumors means they can be more completely removed, reducing
chances for recurrence.”

How it works

Removing bladder tumors is a minimally invasive procedure and requires no incision, Dr. Feliciano says.

Before the blue light cystoscopy procedure is performed, a catheter is inserted through the urethra into the bladder and an imaging solution called Cysview is left in the bladder for about an hour. The blue light can then spot the illuminated cancer cells. A tube-like instrument called a cystoscope is used to remove the tumor.

Dr. Feliciano says blue light cystoscopy is performed at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Hecktown Oaks, and it may be expanded to other LVHN hospitals in the future.

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To refer a patient or to request an appointment, call 888-402-LVHN.

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