SKan Is a Handheld Device That Detects Skin Cancer

Shivad Bhavsar left and Rotimi Fadiya demonstrate their innovative cancer-detecting device to Sir James Dyson

Shivad Bhavsar left and Rotimi Fadiya demonstrate their innovative cancer-detecting device to Sir James DysonDyson

Because cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal tissue cells, cancerous tissue warms at a faster rate than non-cancerous tissue when the tissue - in this case skin - is cooled. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, accounting for roughly 1 in 3 cancer diagnoses, and results in tens of thousands of deaths each year. sKan won this year's global James Dyson award, bringing with it new funding and attention that could help save countless lives.

The World Health Organisation says one in every three cancer cases diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer.

The goal is to select patients who should be sent for a biopsy as early detection is key for the treatment of melanoma. Early detection may mean life or death for those with skin cancer; the estimated 5-year survival rate for skin cancer patients whose illness is detected early is 98 percent. Current melanoma detection methods either rely on a visual inspection, or need a specialist's opinion which is time consuming and costly.

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The device was the recipient of the prestigious James Dyson Award that rewards students and recent graduates that are innovating in the world of product design, industrial design, and engineering. The device, dubbed sKan, is an easy-to-use gadget which measures skin temperatures to quickly and accurately identify melanoma.

Once the results are digitised, they are displayed as a heat map and temperature difference time plot, together with a statement of findings - showing the presence, or lack of presence, of melanoma.

"By using widely available and affordable components, the sKan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many", said James Dyson, British inventor and industrial designer. As the victor of this prestigious award, sKan, which was created by a group of four inspiring engineering undergrads at Ontario's McMaster University, will receive $40,000 to further develop their tool, seek FDA approval, and ultimately bring the tool into the world for use.

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