Skinometer is capable of detecting skin cancer that is not evident to the naked eye.

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

Some dangerous cells may be left behind after surgery, according to experts, but it is believed that new technology would increase surgical precision and reduce operating times, relieving pressure on the NHS.

To enhance diagnosis and accelerate surgery, the world’s first scanner capable of identifying skin cancer that is undetectable to the human eye has been developed.

The “Skinometer,” which was developed by academics at the University of Warwick, is intended to determine how far cancer has gone beneath the skin.

Patients being treated for skin cancer at University Hospital Coventry are now urged to participate in trials of the technology.

Skinometer is capable of detecting skin cancer that is not evident to the naked eye.
Skinometer is capable of detecting skin cancer that is not evident to the naked eye.

The hospital’s consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Professor Joe Hardwicke, describes the development as “extremely intriguing.”

“Some skin tumors can be hidden beneath the skin, so when we remove them surgically, a small amount is occasionally left behind,” he noted.

With this technology, we aim to be able to do more accurate surgeries and eliminate more malignancies on the first try.

Currently, many skin samples must be collected and analyzed throughout an operation to ensure that all cancer cells have been removed; however, the skin scanner should drastically shorten surgical times.

Heather Norgrove discovered an unusual white tumor on her upper arm in 2013. It was eradicated, but it returned six months later far larger than before.

She was only then diagnosed with aggressive melanoma that required excision and a skin graft.

“Had we had a scanner, it would have quickly shown that there was a problem,” she claimed.

“We would have recognized there was a good likelihood it was malignant because it had ruptured inwards and was consequently considerably larger underneath than on top.”

Importantly, she asserts that the scanner would have averted the “long, horrible wait” for a diagnosis, allowing therapy to commence sooner.

The Skinometer employs pulses of light from the terahertz portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which strikes and reflects off the skin’s surface.

The waveforms of the reflected light indicate the depth of cancer’s penetration beneath the skin.

Professor Emma MacPherson from the physics department at Warwick University is conducting the initiative.

She stated, “We are collecting the first data in the world to prove that this will work and that we can significantly reduce cancer detection and treatment timelines.

Every year, around 16,000 new instances of skin cancer are detected in the United Kingdom. This places a strain on the National Health Service, so if we can speed up the process, it would relieve a lot of pressure and cut expenses for the NHS.

She anticipates that the Skinometer will be in use within five years and eventually available in general practitioners’ offices.

There is a potential that it can also identify colon cancer.

And by correctly detecting the moisture levels, it is believed that it may be used to make sun lotions tailored to different skin types.

It may have made all the difference for Heather. After her cancer spread, she had rigorous treatment.

Now, she deems it “essential” for skin cancer patients to volunteer for research to aid others in the future.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Cancer Research UK have provided funding for the project.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content