A Wearable Breast Cancer Scanner Could Help With Early Diagnosis

Breast cancer accounts for 12.5% of new annual cases in the world, making it the most common of all cancers. Early detection is vital, since when breast cancer is localized, it boasts a 99% survival rate. Despite this fact, only 64% of breast cancer cases are detected at a localized stage in the US, according to data obtained from the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The good news is that scientists at MIT have developed a new device that can simply be incorporated into a bra. Doing so would allow more frequent monitoring of people with a high risk for breast cancer and it would enable women to detect very early stage tumors.
A Patch In Time
The device is a flexible patch that can be attached to any bra. It has an ultrasound tracker that can analyze breast tissue from various angles—and the images obtained are as high in quality as those obtained from ultrasound probes used in medical imaging clinics The device provides real-time information that is easy to access and interpret. The development of the device resulted from the personal experience of MIT associate professor. Canan Dagdeviren. The latter’s aunt was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer at the age of 49, passing away six months later. While sitting by her aunt’s bedside, the researchers created a rough schematic of a diagnostic patch that could be incorporated into a brassiere. The aim was to enable women to obtain more frequent information instead of depending on a once-yearly (or less frequent) checkup. Dagdeviren’s device is essentially a miniature 3D-printed ultrasound scanner that has tiny openings. It can be rotated to obtain images from a plethora of angles, and does not require medical expertise to use. The device leverages the very latest technology, including AI algorithms, biomedical systems, and low-power circuits

Interval Cancers
A look at available statistics makes clear why more frequent testing can save lives. Between 20 and 30% of all breast cancer cases are made up of interval cancers—those that develop in between regularly programmed mammograms. What’s more, these tumors have a tendency to be more aggressive than those found during scheduled scans. The device is currently being improved further through the use of AI. The aim is for this technology to analyze subtle changes over time, to offer even more accurate diagnostics. Once this device is available, it will be vital to boost awareness. Luckily, groups like the National Breast Cancer Foundation are seasoned at sharing information through means such as personalized cancer awareness shirts, social media campaigns, and the use of celebrity and influencer endorsements.
Why Are Late Diagnoses Currently So Rampant?
There are many reasons why there is still a way to go in terms of boosting early diagnosis. These include a lack of awareness of the importance of examinations and screenings, as well as inadequate access to healthcare and irregular adherence to recommended guidelines. Another reason is distance; many women may have difficulty attending screenings because they live in remote or rural areas.
The new wearable tech for breast screening diagnosis holds great promise for early detection. Small, inexpensive, and light, it can help those with a high risk of breast cancer, catching any interval cancers that may arise between scheduled appointments. Hopefully, more women will be able to access this life-saving device so that distance or financial barriers cease to be an obstacle to early diagnosis.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Marie Benz