Using radio frequency or microwave technology for breast cancer detection has been proven by researchers in the US, Canada and UK. However, up to now, it can take a few minutes for an image to be produced, and this had to be done in a hospital or specialist care centre.
Now Professor Wu, from the University's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, says concerned patients can receive real-time video images in using the radio frequency scanner which would clearly and simply show the presence of a tumour.
Not only is this a quicker and less-intrusive means of testing, it also means women can be tested at GP surgeries, which could help dramatically reduce waiting times and in some cases avoid unnecessary X-ray mammography. The scanner could also be used at home for continuous monitoring of breast health.
The patented real-time radio frequency scanner uses computer tomography and works by using the same technology as a mobile phone, but with only a tiny fraction of its power.
This makes it both safe and low-cost and the electronics can be housed in a case the size of a lunch box for compactness and portability. Other existing systems are much larger.
Breast cancer is the second biggest killer in women, accounting for 8.2% of all cancer deaths. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.
The usual way of detecting breast cancer up to now is mammography, which works well for women over the age of 50 and can give results of up to 95% accuracy.
But it is far less effective for younger women. The detection rate could be as low as 60% for women under the age of 50, which accounts for 20% of all breast cancer cases.
At that stage it is even more important get accurate diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment could save thousands of lives.
The main difference between the two methods is that mammography works on density, while radio frequency technique works on dielectric contrasts between normal and diseased breast tissues.
In Professor Wu's design, as soon as the breast enters the cup an image appears on screen.
The presence of a tumour or other abnormality will show up in red as the sensor detects the difference in tissue contrasts at radio frequencies. Malignant tissues have higher permittivity and conductivity and therefore appear differently than normal ones to a screen.
Up to 30 images are generated every second, meaning a breast scan could be over in a far shorter time than they are currently.
Professor Wu said: "The system we have is portable and as soon as you lie down you can get a scan – it's real-time.
"The real-time imaging minimises the chance of missing a breast tumour during scanning.
"Other systems also need to use a liquid or gel as a matching substance, such as in an ultrasound, to work but with our system you don't need that – it can be done simply in oil, milk, water or even with a bra on.
"Although there is still research to be done, the system has great potential to bring a new way for breast cancer diagnosis.
"This will benefit millions of women in both developed and developing countries bearing in mind that one in nine women may develop breast cancer in their lifetime."
Professor Wu submitted his innovation of the sensor system to the IET Innovation Awards. The technology has been shortlisted in both Electronics and Measurement in Action categories. The winners will be announced in November.
Daniel Cochlin | EurekAlert!
First transcatheter implant for diastolic heart failure successful
16.11.2017 | The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Theranostic nanoparticles for tracking and monitoring disease state
13.11.2017 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses