New Tech Removes Radiation From Cancer Screenings

Per latest news, researchers recently managed to make a new and inexpensive technology that can help save lives by finding the early stages of cancer in women, all without the added risk of going through radiation.

Radiation-Free Cancer Screening

Developed by researchers from the University of Waterloo, the system reportedly uses harmless microwaves as well as artificial intelligence in order to be able to detect even the smallest of tumors that are in the earliest of stages, all within minutes in order to save time.

"Our top priorities were to make this detection-based modality fast and inexpensive. We have incredibly encouraging results and we believe that is because of its simplicity," Omar Ramahi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Waterloo, said.

According to Ramahi, the prototype for the system costs less than $5,000 and consists of a small sensor in an adjustable box placed under the opening of an examination table. Patients are then made to sit face-down on the table while a sensor emits microwaves that scans their breasts one at a time before sending back their findings to a computer.

A negative result would rule out cancer quickly, while a positive result would lead to a referral of more expensive tests that can gauge out the situation better, such as MRI or mammography.

"If women were screened regularly with this, potential problems would be caught much sooner -- in the early stages of cancer. Our system can complement existing technology, reserving much more expensive options for when they're really needed. We need a mixture, a combination of technologies. When our device sent up a red flag, it would mean more investigation was warranted," Ramahi added.

 Furthermore, one of the system’s biggest pros is that unlike most cancer-detecting tests, it doesn’t expose the patient under radiation, making it all the more safer while it can improve patient comfort, as well as work on breasts that are particularly dense. It can also significantly improve patient wait times since it enables a much earlier diagnosis.

And since it's low-cost, it would save health care systems a significant amount of money while also increasing the access of cancer screening in countries and places that aren’t as developed.

Breast Cancer The blood test could rapidly confirm whether breast cancer is responding to the drug palbociclib. Miguel Á. Padriñán/Pexels