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Scientists developed a new, less unpleasant bladder cancer test

Posted February 3, 2017

There is a procedure, called cystoscopy, during which doctor inserts a tube with a camera and light into patient‘s bladder. Currently, it is a standard diagnostic technique for bladder cancer. However, although it is very accurate, it is very unpleasant for the patient. But now scientists from UCL developed a new diagnostic technique, which requires just a simple urine sample.

Image via UCL

These days more and more attention is being paid to the comfort of the patients. People have to feel comfortable in doctor’s office, so that they would not feel stress getting their health checked regularly. That is why this achievement is quite significant – accuracy is being maintained at a very high level of 98 %, but patients do not have to go through the painful procedure of cystoscopy. The method, called UroMark, has already been tested with 300 patients and scientists are confident in its effectiveness, although some more tests will have to be conducted.

Thousands of people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year. Usually, they notice first symptoms by themselves – blood in urine or constantly reoccurring infections. They are sent for tests, which usually involves inserting an instrument along the water pipe or urethra to inspect the bladder. That is painful, uncomfortable and requires an experienced doctor. This new test should help avoiding all of that as cancer can be diagnosed using simple urine sample alone. Furthermore, it could be done in a usual laboratory or even in general practitioner’s office, as UroMark is simple to use and does not require extensive specialized knowledge.

Cystoscope, at least for bladder cancer diagnostics, may soon become obsolete. Image credit: Michael Reeve via Wikimedia, GFDL

Scientists believe that this test will not only make diagnosis procedure easier and more comfortable, but also more effective. John Kelly, leader of the research team, said: “We have good evidence that patients, particularly females, are diagnosed late with bladder cancer and often patients visit a GP several times with symptoms prior to detection. Having the UroMark test available to GPs will mean that patients can be tested at an early stage to rule out bladder cancer”. This means that cancer can be detected earlier, reducing stress on the patient and improving chances of survival.

Trials are going to start soon, but it will still take some time until UroMark test is available in hospitals around the world. However, it is a welcomed step to a more pleasant and stress-free hospital environment.

Source: UCL

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