The Urology Diagnostic and Treatment Unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has recently set up a new service for treating patients with bladder cancer. The service is called Transurethral Laser Ablation and allows patients to be treated under local anaesthetic in the clinic setting, removing the need for a general anaesthetic operation.
“To be able to introduce such a positive change in treatment for our patients is a fantastic achievement,”
explains Miss Elizabeth Bright, Consultant Urologist and cancer lead at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals. “The new service was first implemented in May of this year, which is especially significant for us, as May is also Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. This new service will add to the list of urological treatments already provided in the clinic setting within the Urology Diagnostic and Treatment Unit at RCHT.”
Transurethral laser ablation (TULA) allows the team to remove and treat bladder tumours under local anaesthetic in the clinic setting, thus removing the need for general anaesthetic and hospital admission. “A small telescope is passed via the waterpipe, allowing us to see the tumour,” Elizabeth explains. “A fine laser fibre is then passed through the telescope which can then be used to remove abnormal tissue or growths.”
“The change to practice will benefit patients greatly,”
Elizabeth continues. “Previously, patients would have had this treatment performed under general anaesthetic, requiring a day case or overnight stay, and requiring them to be denied food prior to the procedure. With the new clinic-based treatment, patients do not have to be denied food, do not have to stop blood thinning medication, and can be treated in a clinic appointment, which usually takes about one hour. This is much more convenient for our patients and means those that are not suitable for general anaesthetic can also be treated.”
The team at RCHT have been assisted by the Urology Team at Derriford Hospital, who already run this service in their department. “The service has been implemented in other hospitals, including Derriford,” Elizabeth adds. “We were visited by Mr Oliver Fuge, Consultant Urologist for Derriford Urology, as well as members of his nursing team. The team kindly mentored our first three treatment clinics on the 5th and 6th May 2022, which were a great success.”