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DERMETRICS: Making it easier to spot skin cancer

Last week, the World Health Organisation warned that sunbed use was directly involved in the significant increase in melanoma, a deadly cancer that targets the skin, and recommended that under 18s should never use a sunbed. Today, Cancer Research will be launching its annual SunSmart campaign to encourage everyone to reduce their risks.

DERMETRICS®, the skin imaging product suite from Astron Clinica, uses non-contact SIAscopy*, to identify cancerous moles from a digital photograph taken with the same kind of camera you would take on holiday. This unique UK developed technology is more effective than current diagnostic practice, which merely relies on visual inspection of the surface of the skin whereas SIAscopy uniquely enables medical practitioners to visualise up to 2 mm underneath the skin. DERMETRICS® helps decrease the time between identification and treatment. Medical professionals have been closely involved with the development of SIAscopy, which was based on an original PhD by Dr Symon Cotton. Mr. Per Hall, consultant plastic surgeon at the world renowned Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, and his team are exploring the possibilities of SIAscopy through a series of research projects and are also using DERMETRICS® at the hospital.

DERMETRICS® enables medical practitioners at all levels to use SIAscopy to examine up to 2 mm beneath the surface of the skin without the need for excision. Case study examples include a 43 year old mother of two whose birthday present saved her life. Her husband gave her an appointment with consultant Per Hall to remove thread veins, instead Per Hall spotted a malignant melanoma on her calf, which was removed, and she is now very happy to be regularly checked with SIAscopy to ensure that any other cancerous moles that develop are controlled.

*SIAscopy is a unique way of looking under the skin with light developed in the UK by Astron Clinica. No form of diagnosis is 100% accurate, but as Dr Symon Cotton, the inventor of SIAscopy says, ‘the use of SIAscopy has been shown to increase diagnostic accuracy from around 70% to 95%. This could be thought of as reducing missed melanomas by over 80%. SIAscopy is the most accurate method of deciding whether a mole should be removed or not.’ DERMETRICS® is used to diagnose a wide range of skin conditions, from acne to psoriasis, as well as malignant melanoma.


Skin cancer is a killer and right now more people die of skin cancer in the UK than in Australia, with 7,000 diagnosed and 1,600 people dying a year. Successful and early diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment.

Currently diagnosis relies on visual assessment by an experienced practitioner. German research says the probability of diagnosing malignancy via visual assessment accurately is 54%, little better than half.
At the moment, any time that a medical practitioner sees a suspicious mole, then that visual diagnosis needs to be backed up with a biopsy. Biopsy is expensive, unslightly - as vulnerable areas tend to be the skin you expose to the sun, like your face, hands and feet - and takes time, 2 - 3 weeks, which can be stressful and worrying for patients.

Spokespeople available for interview/comment on the above:

Astron Clinica

Dr Symon Cotton, PhD founder
Annie Brooking CEO

Medical Professionals

Per Hall, consultant Addenbrookes, Cambridge
Joe Walls, research doctor Addenbrookes, Cambridge
Dr Katya Borova specialist skin clinics, Bedford

Astron Clinica is based in Toft, Cambridge, off junction 12 of M11.


If you would like a spokesperson or further information, please contact:

Lucy Saunders
Tel: 0777 55 66 074

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