Yeah, you've been thinking about getting that thing checked out, but it's just a mole right? Such is the problem with melanoma; it's tough to know which spots on the skin are benign and which could be the hallmark of early-stage skin cancer. Most dermatologists still decide which moles require a biopsy by good old fashioned eye-balling, but a new device developed by researchers at British Colombia Cancer Agency (BCCA) could remove that guesswork, using a handheld laser to quickly identify problem spots that require closer examination. Called the Verisante Aura, the device employs Raman spectroscopy to identify the molecular makeup of moles by changing the vibrational state of the molecular bonds in a skin growth. Shining a particular laser light on those bonds causes a shift in the kind of light that is reflected back to a sensor, and that shift belies exactly what kinds of molecules are there and...
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