“We use visible and near-infrared light at very low power and project it onto the breast. We are trying to characterize the skin damage during radiation therapy, especially for the treatment of breast cancer,” said Anaïs Leproux, a Beckman Laser Institute post-doctoral researcher lead author of the paper on the research. Leproux will present on the work at the OSA Biophotonics Congress: Optics in the Life Sciences meeting, April 2–5 in San Diego.
The research matters because there is presently no method to predict the severity of the late effects of breast cancer radiation treatment, according to The Optical Society. Beyond the skin irritation, peeling and blistering experienced by all women undergoing the therapy, later side effects include permanent skin discoloration and breast tissue thickening.