DENVER (CBS4) – More than 80,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year. A cutting edge diagnostic tool is now improving the outcomes for patients.
The technology helps detect and treat the cancer by lighting up the tumors. Carol Romesburg is a survivor.
“Tough situation for a long time,” Carol said.
She started battling bladder cancer in 2016. She has had 16 surgeries to remove tumors and several cycles of chemotherapy.
In 2018, Carol was told by one doctor that she needed her bladder removed and reconstructed.
“I was not prepared for that,” Carol told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Carol was referred to urologic oncology surgeon Dr. Janet Kukreja at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. She pointed to a photo of Carol’s bladder when she examined it under white light.
“This is normal bladder here and you don’t see any tumors,” she said.
Then she showed what it looked like with a new light, what is called Blue Light Cystoscopy.
“You actually can see way more tumors,” said Kukreja.
An imaging solution, injected into the bladder, is absorbed by cancerous tissue. Using blue light, the tumors glow pink making them more visible and defined.
Carol had 16 tumors removed.
“If we didn’t have this technology, Carol would probably have lost her bladder a year ago,” said Kukreja.
Carol calls it the “blue light special.”
“Yes, very special,” she said. “(I’ve) been cancer free, no tumors.”
“I think it provides a lot of hope for patients,” said Kukreja.
According to Kukreja, UCHealth has had the technology for about a year and surgeons have used it to treat seventy patients. The surgeon calls it a great advancement.
It has given 48-year-old Carol a bright future.
To contact Urologic Oncology at UCHealth call 720-848-0170.