Revolutionary skin cancer microscope to be in use at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by the autumn
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Health experts at a major Norfolk hospital hope a revolutionary microscope which detects skin cancer will be in use this autumn.
The £170,000 Confocal Microscope, which removes the need for a biopsy and three week wait for results, has been installed at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) thanks to generous fundraising.
It is the second hospital in the country to benefit from the state-of-the-art equipment which uses low-power laser beams from a handheld scanner to reflect skin cell images onto a monitor.
The microscope is in use at St Thomas' Hospital, London, but is relatively new technology for Britain.
Major contributions for the equipment came from the Norwich City Football Club technical director Ricky Martin and Norfolk FA which raised £15,000 and the Little Friends charity which donated £12,000.
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The family of Thorpe End businessman Kenny Cooke, who died in August 2012 aged 74 from melanoma skin cancer, raised £7,000 for the microscope over the past two years.
They raised the money through annual fundraisers and sales of CDs featuring music by Mr Cooke's 14-year-old grandson, Perry Cooke.
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The teenager, who attends the Norwich School, said: 'I think the microscope is phenomenal. The fact that we are only one of two centres in the UK with the technology is a big achievement.'
His mother, Deborah Cooke, 49, from Thorpe End, who was Mr Cooke's daughter-in-law, knows what it is like to wait for a biopsy result after being diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in 2012.
She has since received treatment.
Mrs Cooke said: 'It wasn't nice having to wait for the diagnosis of skin cancer. It is awful.'
Dr Jennifer Garioch, NNUH consultant dermatologist, called the new microscope revolutionary and said it would be use this autumn.
She said: 'It gives patients immediate reassurance. We are very lucky to have it in Norwich.'
Dr Garioch, added the microscope allowed for quicker diagnosis of skin cancer anywhere on the body reducing the need for aggressive treatment and potentially improving the recovery rate of patients.
It also prevents people who have a skin cancer check having to under go an unnecessary biopsy.