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Phoenix-area doctors using new technology to detect bladder cancer

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, Ariz. Cancer doctors for Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center have begun using a brand-new, blue-light technology to spot and treat bladder cancer more effectively. (Photo: cygnusloop99/Panoramio)

PHOENIX — For those fighting the battle with bladder cancer, a small blue light could mean the difference between life or death, according to cancer doctors at a Phoenix-area hospital.

Doctors at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert are using a blue light procedure to spot hard-to-find tumors within the bladder.

“We know it recurs up to 80 percent of the time within five years,” said Dr. Joseph Mashni with Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. “We follow people very closely, often looking in their bladder every three months.”

Mashni said the procedure is fairly simple, using an imaging solution and blue light to illuminate cancerous spots within the bladder, which can then be removed.

Old procedures used a white light to detect tumors, which resulted in smaller tumors being missed. Mashni said the blue light makes it easier to find surface tumors, which can reappear in most patients.

Mashni said Banner is the only Arizona facility using the blue light technology to detect bladder cancer and has already produced positive results with patients.

“In each of those (patients) I found a couple extra (tumors) that are smaller than a centimeter when using the blue light,” Mashni said, referring to two patients with multiple bladder tumors.

Mashni said one in 25 men and one in 90 women will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in their lifetime.

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