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Speeding up cancer diagnosis during surgery
Date:9/17/2013

to be struck between making sure all the cancer is removed and preserving as much healthy tissue as possible in order to reduce scarring and disfigurement.

Dr Notingher said: "The real challenge is to know where the cancer starts and ends when looking at it during an operation so that the surgeon knows when to stop cutting. Our technique can also diagnose the presence or absence of skin cancer in thick chunks of skin tissue, making it unnecessary to cut the tissue up further into thin slices."

Scientific research in this field started around two decades ago and only now are scientists starting to publish the results of their work. The use of lasers and high-sensitivity light detection technologies allows faster and more sensitive imaging of tissues and discrimination of tumours.

A huge step forward for the patient

One particular technique, known as Mohs surgery microscopically controlled surgery is used for the treatment of difficult cases of a type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma (BCC). BCC is the commonest cancer in humans with more than 60,000 new patients diagnosed each year in the UK. The incidence of BCC continues to increase each year because we have an ageing population who have had a lot of sun exposure in the past. Mohs surgery provides the highest cure rates for BCC, but the procedure takes a lot of time because each new tissue layer has to be frozen and examined during the operation. Typically, this takes around 1-2 hours per layer so an operation can take as long as five to seven hours in total. So, from a patient's perspective, there is a need to reduce the Mohs surgery time by developing faster and objective ways of seeing whether the cancer has been completely removed during a shorter operation under a single local anaesthetic.

Dr Notingher's technique uses an integrated optical technique based on auto-fluorescence (natural fluorescence from the tissue) and Raman spectroscopy (a highl
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Contact: Lindsay Brooke
lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk
44-011-595-15751
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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