A NEW breakthrough in breast cancer treatment has raised hopes that patients could be treated more quickly and effectively.
Scientists have created a tiny microscope that can place previously unreachable body tissue under the lens.
According to experts at Imperial College London, this device could speed up breast cancer treatment by imaging tissue at “unprecedented speed”.
It is less than 1mm in diameter, which is roughly the width of 25 human hairs.
dr Khushi Vyas and colleagues at Imperial College London hope the endomicroscope will allow them to identify cancer cells as small as hundredths of a millimetre.
If this became standard practice, breast cancer detection and treatment would be much faster because the endomicroscope produces up to 120 images per second.
In addition, the team said the device’s improved accuracy over traditional methods will reduce the need for follow-up surgeries that initially left cancer cells undetected.
Because of its precision, the tool will also salvage much more normal breast tissue when a surgeon removes the cancer.
Production and development of the endomicroscope is currently supported by the Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation.
dr Kedar Pandya, EPSRC Director of Intercommunity Programs, said: “By reducing the time it takes to identify cancer cells and improving the accuracy of imaging, Dr. Vyas and his team developed an endomicroscope to benefit patients and the NHS by reducing waiting lists.”
dr Khushi Vyas added, “Our goal is to proceed with clinical trials to have the system operational in about five years.”
So far, researchers have used their system for preliminary studies on human cancer tissue.
Surgeons and pathologists are now testing it on laboratory samples of cancerous tissue.
This comes after a revolutionary AI scanner was developed that could save breast cancer patients from grueling chemotherapy.
The inventors of Digistain artificial intelligence technology say it can tell with 99 percent accuracy whose cancer is unlikely to come back.
They say up to 4,000 women a year get unnecessary chemotherapy because doctors are overly cautious when the tumor comes back.
CEO dr Hemmel Amrania said: “This new technology accelerates a system that is currently too slow and where time and quick action are precious commodities.
“Our mission is to save breast cancer patients from unnecessary chemotherapy and get them a diagnosis and treatment plan quickly to reduce the pain and anxiety of waiting for results.”
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
- Change in breast size or shape – By examining your breasts regularly, you’ll learn if a change in size or shape is normal for you, or if it’s something unusual that’s worth checking out with your doctor.
- redness or rash – It is important to look out for signs of redness or a rash on the skin and around the nipple.
- nipple discharge – If fluid leaks from the nipple without squeezing it, it is important that it is checked by a doctor.
- Swelling in the armpit or around the collarbone – Lumps are the most common sign of breast cancer, but they don’t always appear in the breast. When examining your breasts each month, it’s important to be thorough and examine the entire breast and surrounding area.
- change in skin structure – From frizziness to the tiniest hint of a dimple – Changes in the appearance of your breasts can be a sign of cancer – If it looks and feels like the peel of an orange, see your GP.
- An inverted nipple – If your nipple suddenly pulls in or changes shape or position in any way, this could be a warning sign.
- constant pain – A dull ache that doesn’t go away in the chest or armpit is a warning sign of breast cancer. – If the pain does not go away after a reasonable time, you should inform your doctor.