The word cancer often evokes a sense of dread in us, simply because it is one of those diseases that can be pretty hard to manage if it has developed into an advanced stage. Well, when it comes to skin cancers, one would most probably hope it isn’t melanoma by any means, since it is the deadliest. Out of 115,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the US last year, nearly 8,700 resulted in death. Scientists at Duke University intend to reverse that trend with a new laser-based tool that was specially designed to identify malignant melanomas sooner, without having to go through the trials of a false diagnosis and unnecessary surgery. How does this work? For starters, this technique will require a couple of low-energy lasers to probe suspect moles, with the redistribution of energy being examined to identify microscopic areas of varying skin pigment. After highlighting higher levels of a skin pigment known as eumelanin in melanomas, it has proved to be quite reliable in positively identifying all eleven samples of melanoma in a particular study. Of course, the trial will need to continue via thousands of archived skin slices as tests before it can be made available mainstream.
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