Cancer treatment is intense and often results in severe side effects because anti-cancer drugs or radiotherapy can be quite toxic. For skin cancer, scientists discovered that treatment, in some cases, with light can be highly beneficial. Basically, that means skin cancer patients can be treated by prolonged exposure to a big lamp. This concept sparked the interest of some engineers that consequently developed a LED-based device that patients can use to provide themselves with a personal form of treatment.
Patients that wish to treat their skin cancer at home can opt for such treatment at a Dutch medical center, the Maxima Medisch Centrum. Doctors will be handing out bandages that can be applied to the skin. Then, a couple of LED lights are connected to the bandage. These lights are intense enough to provide a proper treatment for skin cancer, killing the cells responsible. In addition to the Maxima Medisch Centrum, a couple of medical institutes in the United Kingdom have also started using the LED device, which is called Ambulight.
In addition to not having to go to the hospital, the Ambulight provides more benefits. Patients do not have to stay at home to undergo their treatment, but instead can go wherever they want, while the LED lights 'irradiate' the skin tumour. Additionally, clinical trials revealed that treatment with the bandage results in a less painful experience than with conventional hospital treatment.
The Ambulight is a neat example of how smart technological concepts can lead to patients submitting themselves to medical treatment, instead of clinicians. Perhaps we will see more of these concepts in the future, resulting in patients no longer having to go to the hospital periodically for treatment, or treatment monitoring. Wireless transmitting patient data to the doctor is another example of how medicine can be taken out of the hospital and into the personal environment of the patient.