In a welcome development, a new device could revolutionize diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.
The new 'Star Trek-Style' probe beams infra-red light through the skin to see 2mm below the surface and allows doctors to map how far a cancer has spread with far greater accuracy.
The VivoSight Multi-Beam probe is being tested at Guy's Hospital in London.
"Accurate and early diagnosis of malignant skin lesions is vital to ensure the best possible outcome for patients," Sky News quoted consultant dermatologist, Katie Lacy, as saying.
"This new instrument will allow us to view not only the surface appearance of skin cancer but, for the first time, to also examine the structures under the skin," she added.
The probe detects how infrared light is scattered by underlying tissues and then provides doctors with a highly magnified image.
It should avoid the need for some patients to undergo painful punch biopsies of suspicious skin lesions.
Surgeon Raj Mallipeddi said the probe should improve the cosmetic results of operations to remove cancers.
The balance is always to try to take just enough tissue - but not too much - when one's trying to excise a skin cancer. So this technology will hopefully provide a non-invasive way of making that process far more accurate, beyond what can one can see with the naked eye, he said.