Document Type




Publication Date



Optical Society of America

Source Publication

Biomedical Optics Express


Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with over 3.5M annual cases. Presently, visual inspection by a dermatologist has good sensitivity (> 90%) but poor specificity (< 10%), especially for melanoma, which leads to a high number of unnecessary biopsies. Here we use dynamic thermal imaging (DTI) to demonstrate a rapid, accurate and non-invasive imaging system for detection of skin cancer. In DTI, the lesion is cooled down and the thermal recovery is recorded using infrared imaging. The thermal recovery curves of the suspected lesions are then utilized in the context of continuous-time detection theory in order to define an optimal statistical decision rule such that the sensitivity of the algorithm is guaranteed to be at a maximum for every prescribed false-alarm probability. The proposed methodology was tested in a pilot study including 140 human subjects demonstrating a sensitivity in excess of 99% for a prescribed specificity in excess of 99% for detection of skin cancer. To the best of our knowledge, this is the highest reported accuracy for any non-invasive skin cancer diagnosis method.


Accepted version. Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 8, No. 4 (2017): 2301-2323. DOI. © 2017 Optical Society of America. Used with permission.

Majeed M. Hayat was affiliated with University of New Mexico at the time of publication.

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