When a patient is diagnosed with a solid tumor cancer, one of the first options for treatment is often surgical removal of the tumor. But the biggest challenge for surgery as a treatment for cancer is determining, at a cellular level, the border between the tumor and healthy tissue surrounding it. As a result, sometimes surgeons aren’t able to remove the entire tumor and fragments of cancerous tissue may be left behind, or they accidentally remove some healthy tissue along with the cancerous mass.
But fluorescence detection for tumor removal could change that. Fluorescence detection involves using a type of dye that, when stimulated, emits light wavelengths close to infrared light. These light wavelengths can’t be seen by the naked eye and instead require the use of a special camera hooked up to a monitor that projects a sharper image from inside the body.