A Goa-born surgeon, researching and teaching at the Dundee University in Scotland, has pioneered a new method for the early detection of breast cancer.
Jayant Vaidya, senior lecturer and consultant surgeon at the university, is a leading member of a team of surgeons that discovered that malignant tumours remain cold when surrounding breast tissue is heated to about 20 degrees Celsius.
Experts hope the discovery will make it easier for doctors to determine if a lump is cancerous, and also lead to advances in understanding of the disease.
A study conducted by the team tested tumours removed from six women, an hour after they had undergone surgery, at the Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Each piece of tissue was treated with a hot-air gun, and on each occasion the tumour stayed cold.
Terming the discovery as very exciting, Vaidya said, "Nothing like this has been done before. We heated up a specimen and used a high-resolution thermal imaging camera to take a picture. We found the tumour stayed cold while the rest of the tissue heated up. Then we did the same thing on another five samples and every single one had the same outcome."
"This could open up a lot of doors for breast-cancer treatment and detection, hopefully saving the lives of women all around the world," he said.
The team hopes that a probe could be developed to insert into the breast and heat the area around the tumour, which could mean bypassing a painful biopsy.
A report on the study, which was published in the International Journal of Surgery, predicts that the technique could become crucial in understanding breast cancer.