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Authors: Prof. Robin Williams and Gigi Williams

Biomedical applications: Oncology

Application Notes Reference
Vascular Tumours First recorded application of infrared to vascular tumours - the fine superficial veins in sarcoma and angiomas - noted a penetration down to 1mm. Braga 1936
Vascular Tumours Diagnosis of vascular tumours - valuable when presence of blood doubtful, eg., haemangioma, cyst, lipoma, meningocele, teratoma, haemolymph-angioma, lymphangioma. Ronchese 1937
Mediastinal sarcoma Showed a number of infrared photographs of the mediastinum, showing examples of superior vena caval obstruction in carcinoma of the bronchus and mediastinal sarcoma. Hinshaw and Rutledge 1942
Breast Tumours Presents the first infrared photographs for the detection of cancer in the female breast. The photographs showed an asymmetrical pattern in cancerous breasts. Gibson 1945
Breast Tumours Massopust's first findings on superficial veins and early detection of breast tumours (100 cases). Massopust 1948
  Results of 1000 cases were presented for consideration and stated further work was required before a clinical correlation could be made between venous pattern and state of breast. Massopust 1950
  Presented the results of 1200 cases in which Massopust was hesitant in recommending infrared photography as an aid to accurate diagnosis as the results showed that 381 out of the 1200 cases had an accurate diagnosis without surgical intervention while 12 cases out of the 1200 were inaccurate. Massopust 1953
Breast Tumours Reported a survey of 400 women, but concluded that the survey needed to continue for another few years before any conclusions about the vascularity of breast tumours could be made. Rosenbloom 1953
Malignant melanomas Demonstrated that malignant melanomas absorb infrared. Aldis & Marshall 1963
Malignant neoplasms Suggested colour infrared might be useful for showing malignant neoplasms due to greater blood supply rather than melanin absorbing infrared. Gibson 1967
Pigmented lesions Stated that infrared photography could differentiate between various pigmented lesions in particular, melanomas. Marshall 1976
Fungating carcinoma of the breast
Malignant melanoma
Showed that infrared photography could delineate the engorged blood vessels draining the breast and necrotic areas could be differentiated. Diseased breast absorbed infrared more strongly than the normal tissue. Showed that malignant melanoma absorbed infrared. Marshall 1977
Malignant melanoma Evaluated the usefulness of photographic photometry as a diagnostic test for malignant melanoma. Concluded that this test was more sensitive than observation by experienced clinicians. Marshall 1980
Malignant melanoma Further studies on pigmented lesions and the conclusion that infrared was a useful diagnostic test for determining malignant melanoma. In this study he found that photographic photometry may be less sensitive than the experienced clinician's observations but that this was dependent on the skill of the clinicians rather than the photometry technique. Marshall 1981
Breast tumours Described use of standardized serial photography in assessment and treatment of advanced breast cancer. As part of overall methodology they used infrared techniques. Gilson & Parbhoo 1981
Breast cancer Described the transillumination of breast for lumps. Used both still (colour infrared) and television. Reported that the transillumination technique held promise as a diagnostic aid, but that the television method was better than the still photography because of the immediacy of the method. Morton & Miller 1981
Gastric cancer Used colour infrared film for endoscopy of the gastric mucosa but reported disappointing results. Mimura & Okuda 1981
Pigmented lesions Described a television method for measuring infrared reflectances of pigmented lesions based on comparing the density across a lesion with the density across a step wedge. This enabled very accurate real-time measurement of the densities across the pigmented lesions. Marshall 1982a
Pigmented lesions Described tests between conventional infrared and Polaroid instant infrared film and said they were comparable. Marshall 1982b


  • Aldis, A. & Marshall, R., 1963. "Metastatic melanoma-detection by infrared recording," Med. Biol. Illustr. 13:3-4.
  • Braga, M., 1936. "Infrarouge photographie pour la photographie des lesions," Scientific et Indus. Photogr. 7:423.
  • Gibson, H., 1945. "Infrared photography of patients," Med. Radiogr. Photogr. 21(3):72-86.
  • Gibson, H., 1967. "Medical infrared color photography," Vis. Med. 2(2)43-50.
  • Gibson, H., 1967. "Medical infrared color photography," Vis. Med. 2(3)43-51.
  • Gilson, C. & Parbhoo, S., 1981. "Standardized serial photography in the assessment of advanced breast cancer," J.Audiovis. Media Med. 4:5-10.
  • Hinshaw, H. and Rutledge, D., 1942. "Lesions in the superior mediastinum which interfere with venous circulation," J. Lab. Clin. Med. 27:908-915.
  • Marshall, R., 1976. "Infrared and ultraviolet photography in a study of the selective absorption of radiation by pigmented lesions of the skin," Med. Biol. Illustr. 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. "Infrared and ultraviolet reflectance measurements as an aid to the diagnosis of pigmented lesions of skin," J. Audiovis. Medias Med. 4:11-14.
  • Marshall, R., 1982a. "A television method for measuring infrared and ultraviolet reflectances of pigmented lesions," J. Audiovis. Media Med. 5:51-55.
  • Marshall, R., 1982b. "Infrared photographic photometry with an instant film," J. Audiovis. Media Med. 5:69-71.
  • Massopust, L., 1948. "Infrared photographic study of the superficial veins of the thorax in relation to breast tumors," Surg. Gynae. Obstet. 86:1-4.
  • Massopust, L. & Gardner, W., 1950. "Infrared photographic studies of the superficial thoracic veins in the female," Surg. Gynae. Obstet. 91:717-727.
  • Massopust, L. & Gardner, W., 1953. "The infrared phlebogram in the diagnosis of breast complaints," Surg. Gynae. Obst. 97:619-626.
  • Mimura, S. & Okuda, S., 1981. "A new gastrocamera technique using infrared color film," Endoscopy 13:40-43.

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Last modified: 3 May 2002