A new technology developed at the University of St Andrews could help doctors to diagnose cervical cancer and enable more timely cancer treatment to be administered.
The technology uses Raman spectroscopy to detect pre-cancerous cells. A light beam is shone on the tissue and subtle differences in the way light is scattered from cancerous cells can then be detected.
Professor Simon Herrington, a researcher at the university's Bute Medical School, described the technique as a "very promising approach" to the detection of cancer cells, and revealed that it could be used to diagnose lung and bladder cancer as well as cancer of the cervix.
Co-researcher Professor Kishan Dholakia, from the university's school of physics and astronomy, said that the method "should detect cancer at an earlier stage and will act as a complementary technique to standard pathology".
"We are aiming to get this into hospitals in the next five to ten years which would be a major development for the University of St Andrews," he added.