Blue Light Saves Young Bladder Cancer Patient

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Nearly 80,000 new cases of bladder cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year. But when a young newlywed faced this disease, she had barely heard of it. (KFSN)

Nearly 80,000 new cases of bladder cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year. But when a young newlywed faced this disease, she had barely heard of it. Now, new technology is helping save lives.

It was a fairytale romance for Mary Beth Ballard and Chris Murray. But a year into the marriage the couple faced a nightmare, when Mary Beth noticed blood in her urine.

"For a few months it would come and go and I didn't really know what was going on," Ballard told Ivanhoe.

In 2014, Mary Beth was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

"I was 28 years old at the time. It's very shocking and unexpected," Ballard explained.

Kristen Scarpato, MD, an Assistant Professor of Urologic Surgery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee says bladder cancer usually affects older patients.

"Typically men age 65 and older. And in fact, she's one of the youngest patients we've ever treated here," Dr. Scarpato stated. (Read Full Interview)

After her first cancer surgery, Mary Beth went to Vanderbilt University for a second opinion. That's where they used Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview which uses fluorescent technology to make cancer cells light up, to check her bladder.

Dr. Scarpato explained, "It allows you to see lesions that are flat and not otherwise obvious more clearly."

It turned out more than half of her bladder was covered in tumors.

"It was really tough." Ballard said.

After another surgery and immunotherapy to target any remaining cancer cells, there's great news!

"I've been cancer free for 2 years," Ballard explained.

And now more amazing news, the couple is expecting their first child. Chris says their difficult journey has taught them a very valuable lesson.

"Kind of showed us what's important in life," Murray said.

Mary Beth partnered with Vanderbilt University to start the first bladder cancer walk in Nashville. She also went to Capitol Hill to advocate for May to become Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. For more information about bladder cancer symptoms and treatment please visit www.bcan.org.

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