Smart new device to detect skin cancer with just a click

A simple new device will soon reduce the pain, time and cost of skin cancer testing

New technology will soon be available for any doctor to quickly and painlessly check if a patient has skin cancer.

In Australia more than 1,000,000 patients see their doctor for skin cancer consultations each year. Around 750,000 of these patients have a non-melanoma cancer that requires treatment.

This game-changing device created by Professor Tarl Prow and his team at the University of South Australia (UniSA) allows doctors to take a tiny pinprick sample from the skin that captures roughly 200 cells.

It will allow many patients to avoid the need for painful biopsies that are currently undertaken to test if a skin blemish is cancerous – avoiding the need for short anaesthetic surgeries and stitches that often leave scars of 2-3cms in length.

“Our device will make it easier to identify which skin cancers require immediate removal for further testing and which ones can be monitored over time if they pose no major threat,” says Dr Miko Yamada, Research Fellow in Professor Prow’s team at UniSA.

“We are now fine-tuning our skin cancer biomarkers so the device can take samples and deliver the results instantly. It has the potential to save considerable time, pain and money.”

The device is now in final clinical trials and will soon be available worldwide.

“I want every GP to have one of these new skin cancer devices. They can click it on the skin and after a quick analysis, tell the patient if they have a skin cancer or not,” says Dr Yamada.

UniSA is committed to tackling cancer – one of the most challenging diseases affecting Australians today. As part of this commitment, the UniSA Cancer Research Institute was opened on May 10 – bringing together the largest cohort of cancer researchers ever assembled in South Australia to work collaboratively to fight cancer.

To join UniSA’s fight against cancer and support researchers including Prof Prow and Dr Yamada, visit

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The University of South Australia (UniSA) is committed to tackling one of our most challenging diseases – cancer – by establishing the largest cohort of cancer researchers ever assembled in South Australia. Every day our experts are getting one-step closer to saving more lives as well as improving the quality of life for cancer survivors. But they need your help.

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