Doctors hunt for hidden cancers with glowing dyes

Chemotherapy drugs are administered to a patient at North Carolina Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Thursday, May 25, 2017. According to new studies released at a June 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, drugs are scoring big gains against some of the most common cancers, setting new standards of care for many prostate, breast and lung tumors. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Surgery has long been the best way to cure cancer, and if the disease comes back, it’s usually because stray tumor cells were left behind or other tumors lurked undetected.

Now researchers are testing fluorescent dyes to make these hidden cells glow, exposing them to surgeons who can cut them out and give patients a better shot at survival.

It’s an advance that many experts think will soon transform how hundreds of thousands of operations are done each year.

The dyes are experimental but advancing quickly. Two are in late-stage studies aimed at winning Food and Drug Administration approval. One goal is to prevent repeat surgeries that are needed if doctors later discover that the initial operation left some cancer behind.

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