Scientists Working To Develop Skin Cancer-Detecting Laser

03.30.11 7 years ago

No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to get checked for malignant tumors.

Skin cancer is a douche bag. I’m not entirely sure who decided to invite him to this party we call life, but whoever it was, I hope they realize what an A-hole move that sh-t was. Specifically, I’m calling out skin cancer’s right-hand man, melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer you can get. In the US alone, doctors diagnosed somewhere around 115,000 new cases last year, with about 8,700 of those resulting in death. That is effing terrible. See, the difficulty, these days, with diagnosing melanoma is that it basically involves either a tissue biopsy or study under a magnifying glass -both techniques considered fairly medieval and dated in concept. Even after suspicious skin tissue is removed and sent off to a pathologist, still the practice isn’t 100% accurate.

According to the 2010 study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, pathologists would disagree on the diagnosis of sampled cells in 14 percent of biopsy diagnoses, which follows that 214,000 to 643,000 diagnosed melanoma cases each year could be open to argument.

Which is why it’s so damn cool that scientists over at Duke University are working their tails off to develop a laser that will be able to detect malignant melanomas earlier on, removing the fear of false diagnosis or injury to healthy tissues. Using the power of two low-energy lasers to scan suspected moles, the new technology reads out various skin pigments that scientists are then able to distinguish from other suspicious marks.

In the study, forty-two skin samples were probed with the double laser tool, highlighting higher levels of a skin pigment known as eumelanin in melanomas. Using this higher presence of eumelanin as the indicator, the team was able to positively identify all eleven samples of melanoma in the study.

Although the laser will remain in development for the next few years, the early buzz over preventative cancer misdiagnosis has already begun. Until then, I urge everyone to wear plenty of sunscreen, get any and all suspicious moles checked out and, for the love of God, please stop watching Jersey Shore.

[Special thanks to Gizmag]

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