American Family Children's Hospital

New Diagnostic Tool for Detecting Bladder Cancer

Our Services


In 2012, nearly 70,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with bladder cancer and 14,000 will die, according to estimates by the National Cancer Institute. Bladder cancer is the fourth-most common type of cancer in men and the eighth-most common in women. Smoking is the most likely cause of bladder cancer.


UW Hospital and Clinics is currently the only hospital in the state and one of only 16 in the country using Cysview, a new diagnostic technology to help physicians better detect and treat bladder cancer, while potentially reducing the costs associated with the disease.

Cysview, which was approved by the FDA in November 2010, is an optical imaging agent that makes bladder tumors glow when viewed with a cystoscope equipped with a blue-light lens. The technology allows physicians to more clearly detect and define tumor boundaries in the bladder during a cystoscopy - the test most widely used for identifying problems in the bladder or urethra.

Tracy M. Downs, MD, UW Health urologist and director of the bladder cancer and intravesical therapy program at UW Hospital in Madison, says the new technology marks a significant advance in the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer.

"Cysview allows us to find this cancer earlier, treat it more effectively and help improve the lives of those living with the disease," says Dr Downs.

Share This StoryAccording to Dr. Downs, "It is an important investment in our ability to provide the most comprehensive and effective care for patients with bladder cancer in our tri-state area."


Cysview cystoscopy was shown in a clinical trial to detect nearly 17 percent more papillary tumors that had not invaded muscle than the standard white-light cystoscopy procedure alone had detected. Incomplete detection of cancerous tumors is a key reason that bladder cancer has one of the highest recurrence rates and is the most expensive cancer to treat on a per-patient basis - mainly as a result of multiple surgeries and longer recovery times.

Currently, this technology is available at the time of outpatient bladder cancer surgeries (transurethral resection of bladder tumors or bladder biopsies) as opposed to office based cystoscopy procedures.

According to Dr. Downs, Cysview dramatically enhances the visual clarity of cancerous lesions in the bladder and increases the likelihood of finding so-called "silent" tumors, which are smaller, harder to detect and responsible for the vast majority of follow-up surgeries.

"This technology gives us greater confidence that we can detect and remove all of the cancer the first time," says Dr. Downs. "In doing so, we hope to provide greater quality-of-life for our patients while potentially improving their long-term outcomes as well."