Published on May 7th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
New Breast Cancer Test Ditches X-Rays, Uses Laser And Sound
X-ray mammography is the traditional method for detecting breast cancer and while its a fantastic tool that has saved the lives of countless women, it also had several drawbacks, for example it is prone to false positive and negative results and it exposes women to low doses of ionizing radiation.
Now a new imaging device is undergoing clinical testing at Netherlands’ University of Twente and Medisch Spectrum Twente Hospital in Oldenzaal. The device uses a process known as photoacoustics, a process that applies light-induced sound instead of ionizing radiation.
In early testing the imaging device was successful in diagnosing breast cancer in 12 patients, distinguishing between malignant tissue and high-contrast images of tumors.
The idea of photoacoustics was to build on the use of red and infrared light to image tissue and detect tumors, the new technology is named “optical mammography” and shows malignancies because blood hemoglobin absorbs the longer, redder wavelengths of light, thus showing a distinct contrast between blood-vessel dense tumors and normal vessels surrounding them.
Because it can be hard to target those areas scientists then combine ultrasound to hone in on the technologies targeting ability. Together the tests form the Twente Photoacoustic Mammoscope (PAM) which has been in testing since 2007.
You can read more about the PAM machine at Science Daily.