Potential New Breast Cancer Screening Device.

logo1267406_mdA report this week in the journal Biomedical and Engineering Express discusses a handheld  optical scanner with the potential to offer breast cancer imaging in real time using a near-infrared laser diode source to produce an image of the breast tissue. An advantage is that the device is more adaptable to breast shape and density, and allows imaging of the chest wall region which are difficult to image with conventional methods. An important benefit over mammography is that there is no ionizing radiation dose and fewer issues imaging dense tissues.

The device builds an image of the tissue by mapping the optical absorption, which is altered by the concentration of hemoglobin (protein in red blood cells). Regions with higher concentrations of hemoglobin may indicate higher blood flow due to an abnormality such as a tumor.  Women scanned also said it was very comfortable and many said they did not feel anything.

Researchers said “We’re currently working on the mathematical tools required to process the images and produce 3D tomographic images.in order to determine tumor size and depth.” Their ongoing efforts involve extensive clinical work to demonstrate the capability of the device to pre-screen for any breast abnormality, followed by seeking FDA approval prior to clinical use.

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