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Bladder Cancer: Blue Light Cystoscopy

MD Anderson offers blue light cystoscopy, a unique technology to detect and diagnose tumors in the bladder. Also known as Cysview®, this enhanced imaging procedure helps oncologists find bladder tumors more easily than standard cystoscopy, which can miss some tumors that are too small to see. 

Cysview (hexaminolevulinate HCL) is a colorless contrast solution that accumulates in rapidly growing cells (such as cancer cells) and turns bright pink or red under a blue light.

In the images below, the bladder tumor is essentially invisible under white light (left). With Cysview, the tumor can clearly be seen under blue light (right). 

cystoscopy images of bladder

Benefits of blue light cystoscopy include: 

  • Imaging of bladder tumors using a molecular tool
  • Better tumor visibility and more complete removal
  • Decreased rates of tumor recurrence

The best candidates for blue light cystoscopy are patients who are suspected or known to have bladder tumors.

As of January 2012, MD Anderson is one of only four sites in the United States listed as a Cysview center

Read more about blue light cystoscopy

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Innovative bladder cancer treatments including gene therapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy
  • Minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic procedures to treat bladder cancer
  • Advanced reconstruction techniques
  • Highly skilled and experienced surgeons
  • Nationally recognized research program offers clinical trials of new bladder cancer therapies

Bladder Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

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What to Expect

Prior to the blue light cystoscopy procedure, a catheter is inserted into the urethra and about two ounces of Cysview® solution is placed inside the bladder. This will be left in place for about one hour so that the bladder is ready for the cystoscopy to be performed. 

The cystoscopy is performed in the usual manner using white light first and then the blue light is turned on. Under the blue light, the tumor cells are highlighted in pink and stand out against the normal bladder tissue.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center