Diagnosing breast cancer at the earliest stages can result in a nearly 100% survival rate. If tumors are detected at later stages, then the survival rate would drop down to around 25%.
An ultrasound gadget that can be worn by patients is being developed by MIT researchers with the goal of increasing the overall survival rate of patients with breast cancer. In between routine mammograms, it might be helpful for patients who are at high risk of developing breast cancer.
The U.S. National Science Foundation supported device; a flexible patch that fits over a bra can be used to image the breast tissue from various perspectives by moving an ultrasound tracker across the patch. The researchers demonstrated in the new study that they could produce ultrasound images with resolutions that were on par with those of the ultrasonic probes used in hospitals and imaging centers.
Canan Dagdeviren, senior author of the study, which appears in Science Advances stated that “We changed the form factor of ultrasound technology so that it can be used in your home.”
Twenty to thirty percent of cases of breast cancer are interval cancers, or tumors that grow between regularly scheduled mammograms. These tumors are more aggressive than those found during routine scans.
“My goal is to target the people who are most likely to develop interval cancer,” stated Dagdeviren, whose focus of his research group is on creating body-conforming wearable electronics. “With more frequent screening, our goal to increase the survival rate to up to 98%.”
A portable ultrasound scanner created by Dagdeviren enables users to conduct imaging at any time. Although it uses a new piezoelectric material, this scanner is based on the same type of ultrasound technology used in medical imaging centers.
Although the advancements in MedTech are astounding, there are still a number of unanswered questions. Will men and women worldwide be able to access this? How much would this patch cost women or men who are in need of it?
The next, and arguably most crucial, question.
The only issue is that if this tech advancement that will aid in saving lives of people, shouldn’t it be available to all.
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