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Portable Breast Scanner

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Portable Breast Scanner

Portable breast scanner diagnoses cancer in real time…

A professor at the University of Manchester, England, has developed a ‘lunchbox-sized’ system that can scan for and detect breast cancer in real-time.

The device will not only help reduce the time spent waiting for results, it could also help save thousands of lives each year as a portable system would inevitably be more accessible to more women.

portable instant breast scanner Portable Breast Scanner

Portable Breast Scanner

In contrast to the traditional radiation emitting mammography X-rays currently used to scan for breast cancer, the new system, developed by Prof. Zhipeng Wu, uses radio frequency technology.

The potentially harmful rays of mammogram can only detect different densities of tissue, but radio frequencies are able to detect difference between normal and diseased tissue.

The examination is painless, far less intrusive than a mammogram, and the results are displayed almost instantly. This allows doctors to immediately diagnose any problems, and take further action if required.

In addition, the scan is equally effective across all age groups – mammograms are 95% accurate for women over 50, but only 60% accurate under that age.

In a press release from the University’s school Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Wu explained that his method was extremely easy for the patient and does not require the use of a special gel like a mammogram but could be done with ‘oil, milk, water, or even with a bra on.’

To carry out the scan, the patient simply places their breast into the scanning cup. The device then takes 30 images a second which are displayed on the screen as a colored animation – any tumors show up red, malignant and benign tumors register different frequencies and appear different colors as well.

The real-time results promise more accuracy, as well as less room for clinical errors that can sometimes occur whilst waiting for results. And the simplicity and portability of the system would also allow women at high risk to monitor themselves at home.

Considering that breast cancer is the second biggest killer in women, accounting for 8.2% of all cancer deaths, the new system is device that will surely save lives.


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  1. Portable breast scanner allows cancer detection in the blink of an eye. EurekAlert, University of Manchester, 10/27/2010.
  2. Clay Dillow: Portable Breast Scanner Makes Real-Time Cancer-Hunting Quick, Painless, and Mobile. PopSci.com, 10/27/2010.

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