Boots the chemist has been asked by a famous British breast cancer charity to refrain from selling the Breastlight, which claims to detect lumps in breasts.
According to Cancer Research, there is "no clear evidence" that the Breastlight torch could discover cancerous lumps, and either led to anxiety in women using it or made them carefree.
AdvertisementThe device priced at 85 pounds is marketed as a "health and wellbeing" product and works by shining a light through the tissue, revealing an "internal" view of the breast, thereby, showing any unusual dark shapes, which could be lumps.
Although, trials of the Breastlight at Sunderland City Hospital saw the product identify abnormalities in 12 out of 18 women diagnosed with malignant tumours, Dr Lesley Walker, the director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, believes women should not depend on the product.
"There is no clear evidence to show this sort of home testing kit could reliably detect breast cancer," the Scotsman quoted Walker, as saying.
She added: "There's a danger that use of the device could leave some women with increased levels of anxiety and others with false reassurance."
The Scottish Breast Cancer Campaign had also voiced similar concerns.
"As breast cancer advocates, we pointed out to Breastlight that, even if a woman found an 'abnormality' with the light, she would find it extremely difficult for a GP to refer her on to a breast clinic on the evidence of 'shadows' produced by a torch. Thus, the product could create needless anxiety," said the charity.
However, PWB Health, the manufacturer of the Breastlight said it has "never sought" the approval of charities.
"It must be stressed that Breastlight is not a diagnostic tool and should not be used as a substitute for mammogram screening.
Some women may choose to use Breastlight as an accessory to their existing breast awareness practices, while others may prefer to rely on familiarity with their bodies when looking for changes to their breasts," Alex Gourlay, chief executive of the health and beauty division at Boots, said.