How a urine test could replace painful biopsies for skin cancer patients

This weekend, we wrote about a bacteria-sampling pill that could be used to replace uncomfortable colonoscopies. On a similar note, today we are reporting on a recent scientific breakthrough that could help doctors monitor skin cancer without the need for invasive biopsies.

Researchers at the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia, have identified fluorescent molecules in urine. What this suggests is that it could be possible to track skin cancer of patients with just a urine sample rather than having the patient undergo a painful surgical procedure.

This technique is badly needed as malignant melanoma is particularly challenging to treat and monitor. This skin cancer is highly aggressive and frequently spreads to other sites in the body so monitoring its progression is very important.

However, current techniques mean that patients have to undergo invasive surgery to remove tissue samples, and then lab technicians must perform expensive and time-consuming analyses of these samples. Unfortunately, patients may avoid getting timely diagnosis and treatment as they fear these invasive procedures. With this new urine test, this whole ordeal could be avoided.

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