BACKGROUND: Urologists use a liquid dye to more easily find tiny cancers in the bladder that could grow after surgery.
HOW THE LIQUID DYE HELPS: The liquid dye helps identify all the tiny tumors in the bladder that can remain after a major surgery is done. The dye, called a photosensitizer, reacts with light to make the cancerous tissue look bright red during an examination. The photosensitizer even detects a rare form of bladder cancer that is hard to detect because it lies almost flush against the walls of the bladder.
HOW THE BLADDER WORKS: The bladder stores urine, which is produced when the kidneys filter urea, a waste product of proteins, from the blood. The bladder is a hollow organ made of muscle, connected to the kidneys by the ureters, and empties through the urethra. Adults eliminate about a quart and a half of urine each day. The amount depends on many factors, especially the amounts of fluid and food a person consumes and how much fluid is lost through sweat and breathing.
WHAT IS BLADDER CANCER? About 90 percent of bladder cancers begin in the cells lining the bladder. Cancer that is confined to the lining of the bladder is called superficial bladder cancer and is sometimes removed by scraping away the cancerous cells with a small wire loop.
In some cases, cancer that begins in the transitional cells spreads through the lining of the bladder and invades the muscular wall of the bladder. This is known as invasive bladder cancer. Invasive cancer may grow through the bladder wall and spread to nearby organs.
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