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Authors: Prof. Robin Williams and Gigi Williams

Biomedical Applications: Oncology

Application Notes Reference
Skin cancers and naevi Report of technique applied to 1000 patients (extended to 5000 patients in their 1977 publication) with suspected skin cancer in Hawaii. Concluded that about 60% of skin cancers were darker in the ultraviolet record-but noted that not all lesions that were recorded dark were malignant. Goldstein et al. 1975
Goldstein et al. 1977
Pigmented lesions Described a comprehensive study of pigmented lesions with both ultraviolet and infrared; infrared appearing to be the most useful for detecting early melanomas. Marshall 1976
Malignant melanoma
Sutton's naevus
A study of the effects of invisible radiation on skin lesions. In particular looked at malignant melanoma. Also showed fungating carcinoma of the breast where ultraviolet photography appeared to offer little advantage over panchromatic photography. However demonstrated that ultraviolet could sometimes reveal unexpected changes in skin pigment which could point to a precancerous lesion as in Sutton's halo naevus. Marshall 1977
Malignant melanoma Evaluated the usefulness of photographic photometry as a diagnostic test for malignant melanoma. Concluded that a measurement of the difference in absorption of the lesions to ultraviolet and infrared radiation was a more sensitive test than observation by experienced clinicians. Once again the infrared record proved more useful than the ultraviolet one. Marshall 1980
Malignant melanoma Further study on the use of ultraviolet and infrared reflectance measurements in the diagnosis of pigmented lesions of the skin. In this study Marshall's results demonstrated that the reflectance measurements made by photographic photometry may be a less sensitive objective test than observation by an experienced clinician. Concluded that the disparity between this and previous studies was due to the skill of an experienced diagnostician in the latter study. Also stated that the ultraviolet record was most useful for demonstrating clearly a possibly unsuspected area of depigmented skin or halo around a lesion which may point to a malignant melanoma. Marshall 1981
Pigmented naevi Large scale study of many lesions using ultraviolet photography. Concluded that this technique was especially useful for recording the depigmentation associated with premalignant lesions. Marshall 1981
Pigmented naevi Described the use of a television camera and digital image processing for quantifying changes in pigmented naevi. Extended Marshall's work of 1980 to an automated system to measure area, density, etc., of malignant naevi. Good for individual lesions but resolution not good enough for large body Murray 1988


  • Goldstein, N., Wilder, N. Mita, R. and Chinn, D., 1975, "Ultraviolet photography of skin cancers and nevi," Cutis 16:858-865.
  • Goldstein, N., Wilder, N. & Mita, R., "1977 Ultraviolet photography, skin cancer diagnosis, and other clinical applications," Funct. Photogr. 12 (3):34-37.
  • Marshall, R., 1976, "Infrared and ultraviolet photography in a study of the selective absorption of radiation by pigmented lesions of the skin," Med. Biol. lllustr. 26:71-84.
  • Marshall, R., 1977, " A study of the selective absorption of ultra-violet and infra-red radiation by some pigmented lesions of the skin," PhD Thesis. CNAA. London.
  • Marshall, R., 1980, "Evaluation of a diagnostic test based on photographic photometry of infrared and ultraviolet radiation, reflected by pigmented lesions of the skin," J. Audiovis. Media Med. 3:94-98.
  • Marshall, R., 1981, "Ultraviolet photography in detecting latent halos of pigmented lesions." J. Audiovis. Media Med. 4:127-129.
  • Marshall, R., 1981, "Infrared and ultraviolet reflectance measurements as an aid to the diagnosis of pigmented lesions of skin," J. Audiovis. Media Med. 4:11-14.
  • Murray, A., 1988, "A routine method for the quantification of physical change in melanocytic naevi using digital image processing," J. Audiovis. Media Med. 11:52-57.

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Last modified: 3 May 2002