Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dan Peterson

From the Boston Channel 5 News:

A man who was an inspiration at the Boston Marathon for decades has lost his battle with melanoma.

Dan Peterson, 55, of Beverly, Mass., has died.

Peterson told the Boston Globe that he was hoping to run his 25th Boston Marathon this year, but he acknowledged he may not live that long.

He died Thursday.

His friends plan on carrying his number across the finish line next month.

Boston Channel 5 did a story on Dan last April:

NewsCenter 5's Jorge Quiroga reported that Dan Peterson, 54, is living with a severe form of cancer.

"I had my arm taken off on Jan. 3. Had sterotactic brain surgery three times. It has been a busy last nine months, with the challenges," he said.

Peterson's challenges stem from terminal stage four melanoma.

"You become better at the measure of who you are, and want to do," he said. "I was blessed that my priorities weren't changed when I found out that I had stage four melanoma, but I also learned to dig a little deeper."

Celebrating ordinary runners with inspiring stories, Saucony Running Shoes chose Peterson as their "Man of the Year." The tumor that claimed his arm and the cancer that riddles his body are only two of the many reasons why he was chosen.

"He's touched so many peoples' lives because he really is a very positive person. He always says that life is about being in the game, being a participant," said Peterson's wife, Julie, a former competitive distance runner.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

It's about time

You know what would be great? If there was some sort of device that a general practioner could use to scan your body and alert you if you have skin cancer. It's 2006 and we still have to rely almost solely on a doctor's experience to determine if a mole is scary-looking enough to have tested (and they aren't always right). Imagine if a general practioner or nurse could accurately spot a cancerous mole instead of having to rely on a specialist like a dermatoligist. Well there finally is a skin cancer scanner called a Siascope. I'll try to see if I can find out more about it. Sounds like they've been around for about 5 years but not widely yet used. Below is the article in the BBC:

New scanner spots fatal cancers

A scanner to help detect skin cancer is being pioneered at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and its developer wants it used in GP practices.

The Siascope probes the skin with light to discover if a mole is malignant.

Consultant Per Hall said: "We've shown through our research we can pick up melanoma with this medical tool.

"If we can now train GPs and their nurses to use the machine to scan moles we may see a significant reduction in mortality from this terrible disease."

The machine can produce an image of a mole or lesion within seconds and an experienced doctor or nurse can tell from this if it is benign or something that will require further treatment.

The machines, which cost under £10,000*, were first introduced in 2000 and about 200 are in use across the world.

The latest models are much more compact and Dr Hall and his research team are assessing their suitability to doctors' surgeries and are carrying out a survey in the Cambridge area.

* $17,514.10

Update: This is what it looks like to have a Siascope scan. (see photo at bottom of page).

And this is what a Siascope looks like, along with the pictures it produces. The images help to remove the subjectivity of a mole examination by seperating out the various components(blood, melanin, colagen). So the examiner doesn't have to rely on the just the surface color and texture to make a determination.