Breast cancer is the most common form of all cancers in women in Germany. About 30 percent of female cancer patients suffer from it, and one in eight women will be affected at some point in their lives.
The good news: the disease is easily curable, and the death rate has been falling for decades. And the earlier the tumor is detected, the better the chances of recovery. Prevention is therefore the be-all and end-all - researchers are working on ensuring that this can happen not only at the doctor's but also at home. For example, with bras that detect breast cancer at an early stage and warn the wearer.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a type of ultrasound patch that can be stuck to the bra. There is a scanner on it that takes pictures of the breast tissue. According to a new study by MIT scientists, these recordings are about the same quality as those used by professional doctors.
The study's leader, Canan Dagviren, says: "We have reshaped ultrasound technology so that it can also be used at home. It is portable, easy to use and allows for user-friendly real-time monitoring of breast tissue." In this way, women can detect abnormalities much earlier and undergo treatment that, in case of doubt, can save lives.
However, it is by no means about making the classic medical check-ups superfluous. Rather, the ultrasound bra is intended to detect tumors that develop between these examinations (so-called interval tumors) and are then possibly detected too late. The researchers hope to increase the survival rate to 98 percent. The first tests have already been promising, but it is still unclear when the ultrasound plaster will be available across the board. Companies are also working on similar technologies at other locations, for example in Nigeria, Switzerland or Mexico.
Incidentally, Canan Dagdeviren was inspired to come up with the idea of a sad case in his own family. The physicist's aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 49, even though she had had regular check-ups. The disease was recognized too late, the woman died eight years ago. At her bedside, Dagdeviren drew the first design for her ultrasound bra. The new invention should help patients like her aunt.
Sources: MIT / German Cancer Society / "Guardian"
See the video: Stephanie Germino from the US state of Florida had her breasts removed. The reason: The 29-year-old was found to have a 50 percent chance of developing breast cancer.