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Melanoma Detection via Acoustic Waves

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Published on : Aug 07, 2014

According to research, doctors can now use a new hand-held device that incorporates sound waves and lasers that can help to detect melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. This device can be used directly on the patient’s skin and it gives the exact degree of the spread of this skin tumor. 

More than three fourth of deaths caused in the US due to skin cancer is mostly by melanoma. And in the US, it is the fifth most common type of cancer affecting the masses. The seriousness of melanoma gets determined by the thickness of the tumor. Doctors can provide the right type of treatment for this only by understanding the tumor’s thickness. 

The issue being faced is that the current form of diagnosis cannot ascertain the patients’ tumors very effectively because the high resolution techniques that use light and rays do not penetrate deep into the skin’s surface since the light gets scattered. Other methods have also been tried by doctors and researchers but these were also not successful. The best way to find out the thickness of the tumor is by conducting a biopsy which is an invasive technique. 

In recent times, researchers have been applying photoacoustic microscopy which helps the doctors to accurately measure the melanoma tumors. The acoustic waves do not disperse while passing through the skin’s surface and these waves are used to measure the whole tumor with the highest resolution.

The striking feature about the photoacoustic microscopy is that it can effectively measure the volume of the tumors which a breakthrough in the treatment of melanoma.

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