UK researchers developing a bra-mounted breast cancer monitor

UK researchers developing a bra-mounted breast cancer monitor

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University hope device used at home will improve tracking of tumours

Researchers are working on a gadget that would go inside a bra and be able to track the growth of a breast cancer tumor.

Researchers anticipate that patients will be able to use the gadget “in the comfort of their own homes” to identify tumor development using a novel, non-invasive technique.

The medical technologies innovation laboratory at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is developing a gadget that will utilize an electrical current to scan and identify minute changes in fluids within and outside of breast cells.

The gadget will be able to assess changes and growth of tumors in real time down to as little as 2mm since tumor tissue is denser and has less water than healthy tissue.

According to researchers, the gadget could be created as a new bra with the device integrated or used as an insert in a patient’s existing bra. It would capture data and transmit it to the wearer’s medical team via smartphone. The device’s developers want to enter a clinical study in the next years.

According to Dr. Yang Wei, a specialist in electronic textiles and electronic engineering at NTU, “the technology would measure changes in breast tissue and help improve a patient’s chance of survival.” Breast cancer has a very rapid growth rate; it may spread to 1 mm in six months or 2 mm in six weeks. This would be an extra check to evaluate how quickly the tumor is growing.

“We are paving the way for research into an alternate method of detecting breast cancer that can be performed in the convenience of a patient’s own home, saving vital hospital resources while still offering a workable way to identify early indications of cancer.”

Over 55,000 new cases and over 11,000 deaths of breast cancer occur in the UK annually, according to Cancer Research. About 23% of the additional cases might have been avoided.

The gadget is intended to help with the crucial task of tumor monitoring, which may be difficult to do accurately, especially when the tumor is smaller than 1 cm in size. There’s a chance that there may be noticeable development in between MRI scans, which can happen months apart.

Research on improved breast cancer diagnosis and treatment is desperately required, according to Dr. Simon Vincent, director of research, support, and influence at Breast Cancer Now.

The device has not yet been tested on humans, and there is still much we need to learn before we can decide whether or not it could be used in medical settings, he said, “but this new technology could offer a new way to monitor the growth of breast cancer tumours and we look forward to seeing the final results.”

“For information and support, anyone affected by breast cancer can speak with the knowledgeable nurses at Breast Cancer Now by calling our free helpline at 0808 800 6000.”

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