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Upstate Cancer Center deploys new technology to combat bladder cancer

Upstate Cancer Center at 750 E. Adams St. in Syracuse is partnering with the Mohawk Valley Health System in Utica for radiation-oncology services beginning Dec. 1. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Upstate Cancer Center is using new equipment that helps doctors “better” detect and diagnose cancerous tumors in the bladder.

It’s called blue light cystoscopy, which uses a fluorescing agent, called cysview, which Upstate Medical refers to as a “key component of this new technique,” according to a news release Upstate issued Wednesday.

Cysview is injected into the bladder and soaked up by cancer tumors giving them a pink glow so doctors can easily see them.


With an enhanced image of the bladder, doctors can find “even the smallest tumors” when treating a patient with bladder cancer, Upstate said.

Doctors say surveillance is “key” to treating bladder cancer, “because undetected, tumors can grow and the cancer can spread.”

“This technique is game-changer when it comes to keeping close watch on bladder cancer,” Dr. Gennady Bratslavsky, professor and chair of Upstate’s department of urology, said in the release. “We now have a supercharged cystoscopy technique that highlights cancerous tumors as we have never seen them before. Using the blue light, we can spot tiny tumors and remove them to keep our patients healthy.”

How it works

About an hour before the procedure, doctors insert a catheter tube into the bladder and inject a clear solution into the bladder. Cancer tumors will soak up the solution.

Once in the exam room, doctors will use two different lighted scopes — a white light cystoscopy and a blue light cystoscopy. The white light cystoscopy illuminates the inside of the bladder to help doctors see any abnormalities. When doctors switch to the blue light cystoscopy, tumors that have reacted to the cysview solution appear bright pink, “enabling doctors to better see tissue to biopsy,” Upstate said.

“The best way to combat bladder cancer is to ensure patients undergo regular checks and to be vigilant about examining the bladder to see if new tumors have occurred,” Dr. Joseph Jacob, a fellowship-trained urologic oncologist who is director of the bladder-cancer program at Upstate, said. “This new procedure gives doctors a better opportunity to view the bladder and provides patients better peace of mind.”

On a trial basis, Upstate started offering the blue light cystoscopy with cysview back in January. So far, 15 patients have been examined with this approach and “all are responding well,” according to Jacob.

Contact Reinhardt at


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