New bra device could help monitor breast cancer tumors | TechNews

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY MARCH 18 File photo dated 06/15/06 of a mammogram showing a female breast in order to check for breast cancer.  Scientists are developing a device which could fit inside a bra and monitor whether a breast cancer tumor is growing.  It is hoped that the device could help save patients' lives in the future by monitoring tumor growth in real time.  Issue date: Monday March 18, 2024. PA Photo.  A team at Nottingham Trent University's (NTU) Medical Technologies Innovation Facility is working to create the technology which will use a form of electrical current that can scan and detect tiny changes in fluids inside and outside of the cells.  See PA story SCIENCE BreastCancer.  Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The less invasive method could save lives (Picture: PA Wire)

Scientists are developing a device which could fit inside a bra and monitor whether or not a breast cancer tumor is growing.

If successful, it’s hoped the device could help save patients’ lives in the future by monitoring tumor growth in real time.

A team at Nottingham Trent University’s (NTU) Medical Technologies Innovation Facility is working to create the technology which will use a form of electrical current that can scan and detect tiny changes in fluids inside and outside of the cells.

Tumor tissue is denser than healthy tissue and contains less water, so the device will be able to measure tumor changes and growth – down to as small as 2mm.

The non-invasive technology – which researchers say could potentially be used as an insert into a patient’s bra or developed as a new bra incorporating the device – would be used alongside treatment and other regular checks and scans.

Data would be recorded and fed back to the wearer and clinician via smartphone so assessments could be made about growth.

Young woman doing breast self-exam.  Young African woman palpating her breast by herself that she is concerned about breast cancer.  Healthcare and breast cancer concept.  Guidelines to check for breast cancer.

Ongoing monitoring of lumps in the breast is vital (Picture: Getty)

Researchers hope this could help reduce the need for so many other checks and save money for health services.

Ongoing monitoring is important as tumor growth can vary significantly between patients and it is very difficult to monitor precisely, particularly under 1cm.

MRI scans can be months apart, the researchers say, and there could be significant growth between hospital visits.

Dr Yang Wei, an expert in electronic textiles and electronic engineering at NTU, said: ‘The technology would measure changes in breast tissue and help improve a patient’s chance of survival.

‘Breast cancer can grow so quickly, it could be 1mm in six months or 2mm in six weeks. This would be an additional measure to see how fast the tumor grows.

‘We are opening the door to the investigation of an alternative breast cancer detection that could be done in the comfort of a patient’s home, conserving essential hospital resources while still providing a viable solution to detect early signs of cancer.’

There are more than 55,000 new cases of breast cancer in the UK every year, with more than 11,000 deaths.

The scientists have honed the electronics functionality and will now work towards optimizing and validating the technology.

They are aiming to move the device into clinical trials within the next few years.

Dr Simon Vincent, director of research, support and influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said: ‘With over 55,000 people being diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, and 11,000 sadly dying from the disease, research is looking at how we can better detect and treating breast cancer is urgently needed.

‘While this new technology could offer a new way to monitor the growth of breast cancer tumors and we look forward to seeing the final results, the device has not yet been tested on people and there’s a lot more we need to understand before we can consider Whether or not it could be used in medical settings.

‘Anyone affected by breast cancer can speak to Breast Cancer Now’s expert nurses by calling our free helpline on 0808 800 6000 for information and support.’

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