A UK-based Maltese surgeon has led a team of international scientists to find a new non-invasive cure for skin cancer.
Ernest Azzopardi, who specialises in plastic surgery and laser, explained that patients with a common type of skin cancer were cured using a laser treatment over two sessions with a local anaesthetic. After testing out the procedure on 100 patients, it was found to be 93% effective.
The treatment was used for basal cell carcinoma, common cancer that affects people who are exposed to the sun without protection for years. It usually begins with a mole that starts to grow abnormally or through a wound that hasn’t healed properly.
Azzopardi told TVM that although it is not a cancer that spreads throughout the body it is one that grows “wide and deep”. Previous treatment involved radiotherapy or an operation that would require stitches or plastic surgery.
The surgeon is an academic who led the pioneering research in the UK, in collaboration with universities and organisations in London, Milan and the University of Malta. The international team found that lasers can effectively remove the tumours while also providing a less invasive alternative to radiotherapy, which comes with risks of organ failure and cosmetic deformities.
His work has been recognised by the British Association of Plastic Surgery and has even received the Reconstructive Surgeons’ President’s Medal for previous work.
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