New Imaging Approach Scans Entire Breast and Finds Tumors in Seconds

New Imaging Approach Scans Entire Breast and Finds Tumors in Seconds
Researchers at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) developed a new imaging technology for breast cancer screening that can scan the whole breast and find tumors within 15 seconds. The method, called single-breath-hold photoacoustic computed tomography (SBH-PACT), shines a laser light on the breast and detects changes in ultrasonic vibrations. It may one day replace mammograms, according to researchers. Their study reporting these findings, "Single-breath-hold photoacoustic computed tomography of the breast," was published in Nature Communications Screening for breast cancer is important for an early diagnosis, which has been shown to increase overall survival of patients. But many women avoid mammograms in their routine checkups because the tests are uncomfortable. While mammograms are a useful imaging technique for early cancer detection, they also expose patients to X-ray radiation. Also, breasts are painfully squished between two plates to flatten the tissue, so that X-rays can penetrate more easily and produce a better image. Besides the discomfort involved, mammograms have other significant downsides, such as the difficulty in generating clear images in women with dense breast tissue and the tendency to generate false-positive diagnoses. Researchers at Caltech believe they developed a better alternative: a new imaging method based on a laser-sonic scanner that shines pulses of light into the breast and is able to find tum
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