Doctors Could be Able to Diagnose Skin Cancers in Only 10 Seconds

Innovative optic technology may be used to fast track skin cancer detection.


Checking for skin cancer just got easier with a skin cancer detecting machine.

(Branislav Nenin /

There have been so many improvements in detecting cancer from blood tests to virtual biopsy devices that can detect tumors painlessly. Now, a new innovative optical technology will allow doctors to detect skin cancers – including melanoma – in just 10 seconds.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have come up with new optical technology that can diagnose skin cancer without ever cutting into the patient’s body. Skin cancer detection has always been a long process of doing a traditional biopsy of suspected moles or lesions and then waiting for the results. But this new noninvasive method, according to YNet News is so fast that there are almost no wait times at all.

Early detection of melanomas can save lives according to the researchers. If a melanoma is detected early, is still less than one millimeter thick, and removed right away, the chances for a full recovery are very good.

This new technology is built upon the knowledge that lesions emit different colors when placed under infrared light that shows if they are malignant and what type of cancer is present. Instead of removing the lesions for examination, the research team pioneered a way to check them on the body.

Professor Abraham Katzir from TAU’s exact sciences faculty told Times Of Israel: “We have developed special fibers that carry infrared and which are simply touched on the lesion. Using this, we get results within ten seconds, based on the color that returns.
“This can eliminate the whole complicated and upsetting assessment procedure that normally involves a cut, a scar, and a waiting period.”

The peer-reviewed research that was published in the journal Medical Physics tested the optical tech on 90 patients and it accurately identified the 5 patients with melanoma and 10 with other skin cancers. In addition, 75 other patients that had lesions were correctly identified as cancer-free all by the colors the lesions emitted.

The next stage involves testing the tech on many more patients in the hope that it can be used to create an easy-to-use machine that will be able to diagnose lesions on a screen. Katzir said that the optical tech will “have the potential to cause a dramatic change in the field of diagnosing and treating skin cancer.”

Other devices are also being developed to screen for cancers. A virtual biopsy device was developed at Rutgers University in New Jersey, in 2019,  that uses sound vibrations to diagnose skin cancer lesions. And, in 2020, Canadian researchers from McMaster and Brock universities developed a handheld device that can screen patients’ blood for cancer signatures the same way a glucometer checks a diabetic’s sugar level.

All of these new developments are making it easier to detect and treat cancers earlier and this increases survivability and the quality of life for people with cancer diagnoses.

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