But even this method for diagnosing is modern, as most pathology labs require several days to evaluate if cancerous cells remain in a patient's tissue after they have had a tumor removed during surgery.The Mas Spec Pen is more than 150 times quicker than existing diagnosis technologies and it is also much safer.
The scientists' hope is that surgeons will now know which tissue to cut out and which to leave alone, making procedures safer and more effective.
Researchers also found that the Mas Spec Pen was also able to identify cancer in marginal regions between normal and cancerous tissues that presented mixed cellular composition.
While the pen has yet to be tested during cancer removal surgeries, it has successfully identified tumors in mice.
Experts are hopeful that the device will help surgeons conduct procedures that are safer, quicker and more precise, since they could potentially remove all cancerous tissue from a patient in one go.
They say it could bring down the number of patients who relapse after having cancerous tissue removed and need more operations to fight the disease.