Infrared Monitor Can Help Detect Early – Stage Skin Cancer

Infrared Monitor Can Help Detect Early – Stage Skin Cancer

Melanoma might be a more rare form of the types of skin cancers, but it amounts to the most deaths caused from skin cancer. Melanoma is quite treatable if caught early, but it’s tough to catch. Most of us have moles or skin blemishes that doctors question, but often times, it’s a painful biopsy process that leaves the patient in pain – sometimes for no reason if the mole comes back melanoma-free. This new device can help detect skin cancer through heat on the skin, and leaves the patient without the pain.

The Melanoma Detector uses infrared heat-detecting technology to locate cancerous cells on the skin. Cancer cells typically divide more rapidly than regular cells, therefore causing a higher metabolic rate and giving off more heat as energy. Because the difference in temperature is very small, two professors at Johns Hopkins Cancer Center and School of Engineering have devised a process for making the difference stand out.

The process works when the skin is cooled, and then begins to heat up again. To do this, the dermatologist would shoot a burst of air onto the patient’s skin for one minute. Once the cooling is finished, the Melanoma Detector is turned on and the infrared light is shined onto the mole or lesion. The doctor is able to view the differences in temperature through the same technology that is used with typical night vision goggles. If a heat variance is detected, that could be the presence of a growing malignant tumor.

One of the designers, Rhoda Alani, the skin expert of the twosome, is fairly optimistic about the product. She says, “We, at this point, are not able to say that this instrument is able to replace the clinical judgment of a dermatologist, but we envision that this will be useful as a tool in helping to diagnose early-stage melanoma.”

Infrared Monitor Can Help Detect Early – Stage Skin Cancer

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