In Brazil, land of sun, skin cancer is the most frequent type of cancer, corresponding to 25% of all cancers registered in the country. With the arrival of summer, the exposure to solar radiation is higher, increasing the risk of developing the disease. Despite of giving us unforgettable days, the sun is the major catalyst of this disease.
When someone asks us to name human body organs, typically the response is: heart, stomach, liver, kidneys, among others. But rarely does anyone remember that the skin is an organ. But yes, skin is an organ, SKIN IS THE LARGEST ORGAN IN THE HUMAN BODY. Skin is responsible for protecting the internal organs from bacteria, for allowing heat and water exchange with the environment, as well as capture and send information to the brain about pain, touch and thermal sensations. Skin cancer is curable if detected early. However, situations in which there is a delay in diagnosis can lead to ulceration and severe physical deformities. The fatalities related to this type of cancer are often the result of misdiagnosis or an underestimation of the biological potential of the primary tumor. The early diagnosis of skin cancer is essential, promoting adequate treatment in order to increase the rate of healing and to reduce mortality.
Among numerous risk factors associated with this disease you can find light skin, light eyes, moles, history of prolonged sun exposure and sunburns, family history of skin cancer, among others. If you suspect having any of these factors, calculate your risk of developing it using the calculator of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology and learn which signs and symptoms you should be paying attention to (http://www.sbd.org.br/informacoes/sobre-o-cancer-da-pele/).
Given the high incidence of skin cancer in Brazil, INESC P&D Brazil believes that the development of reliable instrumentation for early detection of this disease is of great importance, leading the team to create a line of research in this area. Nowadays, the diagnosis of skin cancer is typically done by visual identification of the anomaly, its surgical removal and biopsy to determine the malignant potential of the lesion. INESC P&D Brazil believes that the creation of a reliable non-evasive probe, for real time and in-vivo diagnostics of skin cancer may help to detect this disease at an early stage, aiding to change the current skin cancer landscape in Brazil.