In a significant breakthrough, researchers at the University College of London, have discovered a new technique, called Diffraction Enhanced Breast Imaging (Debi), which they claim could detect breast cancer at a much earlier stage, thus facilitating early treatment.
According to them, the new way can identify tumours when they are just four millimetres wide. At present, doctors often struggle to spot tumours more than twice this size because of the limits of X-rays.
The device can measure this effect and so identify potentially cancerous cells and if tumours are by any chance missed by the X-ray, they can be picked up by this second detector, reports BBC.
Dr Robert Speller and colleagues at the university found that tumour cells have a different effect on X-rays compared to healthy cells – they scatter the rays in a variety of directions.
It scans over the breast like a normal X-ray. But it also includes a second detector, which can measure the scattering effect or diffraction.
Early results have been promising. “We should be able to pick up something just 4mm in diameter, where conventional mammograms can only easily spot 10 to 12mm lumps,” Dr Speller told New Scientist.
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Sub-editorBreast cancer :: Early detector for breast cancer
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on March 7th, 2003 at 12:00 am.
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