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Advocating for Yourself or Loved Ones When Bladder Cancer is Suspected


SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) If you or someone you know may have bladder cancer, being well informed could get you the best diagnosis and treatment. In fact, according to an article published in “Urologic Oncology,” in 46.5% of the cases where a bladder was removed because of advanced cancer, a very serious type of tumor called carcinoma in situ (CIS) had been missed in past transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) procedures. This alarming statistic magnifies the need for urologists to have enhanced tumor visibility during TURBTs. There is one procedure that can offer visibility of hard-to-see tumors including CIS; it’s called Blue Light Cystoscopy (BLC). Here’s what to know:

TURBT can be a critical diagnostic step when done properly and precisely. The TURBT provides essential information regarding the number of tumors, tumor sizes, locations and depth of invasion. All these factors significantly inform the identification of a patient’s risk category, which can subsequently impact treatment decisions.

Currently, White Light Cystoscopy is most commonly used for a patient’s first TURBT and is considered the standard level of care. However, research suggests that using White Light Cystoscopy alone may be inadequate, causing:

• Incomplete tumor resection: After one year, there is a rate of up to 61% of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer recurrence, suggesting incomplete tumor resection when using only White Light Cystoscopy.

• New tumor growth: Up to 70% of patients have tumors recur after standard TURBT.

• Tumors found during subsequent TURBT procedures: Up to 86% of residual tumors are found at the original resection site after initial white-light TURBT.

So, how can patients ensure better diagnostics and treatment? Experts say that asking for BLC during the first TURBT is a great way to advocate for yourself or a loved one. BLC is a technology that allows urologists to see tumors that white light alone may miss. Unfortunately, it is not always utilized at the first encounter with the patient.

Suzanne B. Merrill, MD, FACS, Colorado Urology said, “By using Blue Light Cystoscopy for first TURBT, urologists can more completely assess the bladder, achieve greater tumor eradication and provide more data for appropriate diagnosis. Doing the procedure with enhanced visibility right at the start of patient care can better establish the appropriate treatment regimen for each patient and lower the risk of disease recurrence.”

Dr. Merrill recommends that patients and their loved ones be their own advocates when it comes to their diagnosis.

Need some tips for how to talk to your urologist about TURBT and BLC? Follow these steps:

1. Find a trusted urologist in your area.

2. Inquire about BLC with your urologist.

3. Explain to your urologist that you’re interested in BLC at your first TURBT to ensure better tumor visibility.

4. If your urologist does not offer BLC, find one that does.

To find locations that offer BLC, visit

“When it comes to your medical care, you should always feel comfortable advocating for yourself,” says Dr. Merrill. “You may need to speak to more than one urologist, but doing so can mean better outcomes for your health in the long term.”

This article is sponsored by Photocure, Inc.


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