If you’re over the age of 60 in British Columbia, the odds of being diagnosed with bladder cancer are higher than average.
Thanks to new technology called Blue Light Cystoscopy, patients with this type of cancer can be treated more effectively, right here on the Lower Mainland. Thanks to the generosity of a single donor to the Surrey Hospital Foundation, new equipment was purchased that allows medical staff at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey to do the procedure quickly and efficiently, in most cases.
The donation ensured that Surrey Memorial Hospital was the first in B.C. to receive and begin using this equipment, and now VGH is also utilizing the technology.
Giving patients hope for positive results
In diagnosing and treating bladder cancer – a procedure known as cystoscopy – a hollow tube is inserted into the urethra, through which tiny surgical tools and a camera can be inserted to examine the bladder wall. Traditionally, a white light source is used to examine the lining, however, small tumours are very difficult to see and need to grow larger to be detected.
Blue light cystoscopy, recently approved in Canada, sees patients given a special dye pre-surgery that are absorbed by cancerous cells. Under the blue light inserted through the cystoscope, those cells are illuminated with a bright pink colour.
“When we use the blue light, that will show microscopic small tumours, which allows us to remove them all at the same time,” says Dr. Cal Andreou, B.C.’s top Urologist and Chief of Surgery at Surrey Memorial Hospital. “The patient goes home an hour or two later with a better chance of a complete cure.”
Dr. Andreou and his team are the first in B.C. to use green-light and blue-light procedures to detect cancers, the first to perform laproscopic prostatectomies, and recently became the first in Canada to use Optilume during urethral stricture treatment. He is also one of only two surgeons in the province to perform male incontinence surgeries after cancer.
Men more prone to bladder cancer diagnosis
The number of people in B.C. diagnosed with bladder cancer continues to rise, in large part because the risk increases with increasing age. In 2017, over 1,600 cases were diagnosed and 88 per cent of these patients were 60 or older. Men continue to be at higher risk than women – one in 21 males will develop bladder cancer during their lifetime.
The earlier a diagnosis occurs and the sooner treatment can be initiated, the better the outcomes will be for patients. The Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre was the first in B.C. to receive the blue light cystoscopy equipment and is already making a difference in the outcomes for patients.
Here’s how you can help further
With the community’s help, Surrey Hospital Foundation is investing $10 million toward the renewal of the surgical centre at Surrey Memorial Hospital. This renovation will bring more of the very best and most innovative technology and equipment to Surrey, which will attract and retain top surgical talent.