Can a Tattoo Detect Cancer?

The biomedical tattoo in action Source: scmp.com No one likes to think about the possibility of cancer. But it is a possibility, and one that needs to be taken very seriously. Of course, the biggest concern of cancer is being able to catch it soon enough, and treat it before the situation gets out of control. This, however, is no easy task, and it still remains the biggest concern. Detecting symptoms and getting a diagnosis is not a perfect science, and can all but result in some people going for expensive check-ups regularly, simply out of fear. A new invention, however, could solve all of these problems in one fell swoop. Developed by Swedish doctors, this solution is one that has the world sitting up and taking notice. It is an implant that, upon detecting symptoms of cancer, creates a brown patch on the patient’s skin, alerting them that they are in need of a check-up as soon as possible.

But How Does It All Work?

The system can be called a genetically engineered alarm system. Although, that might be a bit misleading. The general idea is that the implant detects an increase in calcium in the body, and this can happen at any time, whether out and about, at work, while relaxing playing online casino games, or working out at the gym. An increase in calcium is, of course, a sign that a cancerous tumour is taking root. Upon the calcium increase being detected, skin cells that have been modified to release large amounts of melanin are sent to the surface of the body. Melanin, for those who are unable to recall biology class, is the pigment that helps us get a tan. So, in other words, upon calcium being detected, the person will notice a large brown patch on the skin, where the implant has been placed. And, upon seeing the brown patch, the person knows that it is time to head off for a check-up. It’s an ingenious system, and certainly one that is going to be saving people a great deal of time and money. A closer look at cancer identifiers Source: Pixabay

Not a Perfect System

The Swedish doctors at ETH Zurich University who created the system are proud of their work. And they certainly should be, given how big an impact it could have. But, they have also warned that the system is not a perfect one. Stress was put on the fact that the implant does not entirely negate the need to see a doctor, and that regular check-ups are still necessary. Plus, an increase in calcium is only a symptom of certain kinds of cancer, and not all kinds. Also, a spike in calcium is not always a guaranteed sign of cancer, meaning that the implant may possibly activate, and be wasted. This, however, does not negate how valuable the implant can be, and how many lives it may save.

Calcium Increase Difficult To Diagnose

One of the biggest benefits of the implant is that it helps with a major problem of cancer, namely that increases in calcium are difficult to diagnose. Given that the symptoms are vague, and easily mixed up, doctors often make an incorrect diagnosis. Lethargy, weakness, and lack of appetite are all symptoms of a spike in calcium in the body. They are also, however, also symptoms of a number of other far less dangerous and concerning things. The implant is still in development, but has shown incredible potential. After more research and fine-tuning, the implant may well become available around the world. Until then, people will have to rely on the old fashioned methods of diagnosing cancer. Which are going for regular check-ups, feeling for lumps, and keeping an eye on moles on the skin.
Categories: Technology
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