An innovative method to measure breast tissue using microwaves has been developed by researchers. This might pave the way for development of non-invasive procedures to predict breast cancer risk.
A partnership between the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre and Agilent Technologies - a company that uses imaging tools including elemental bio-imaging and microwave imaging - will allow researchers to study breast tissues samples differently to find a new method of assessing breast density, a predictor of lifetime breast cancer risk, the Herald Sun reported.
Sydney Breast Cancer Network tissue bank will be supplying the breast tissue samples for the study.
There will be 300 samples collected - 200 from breast reduction surgery patients without breast cancer and 100 from cancer surgery patients at a distance from the site of the tumour.
Apart from the samples, there will be a recent mammographic image.
Medical Imaging Optimisation and Perception Group principal investigator Elaine Ryan asserted that the breast density was associated with the lifetime risk of women getting breast cancer.
"We're trying to use microwaves to work out what it is about the tissue that makes it more dense," Dr Ryan said.
"We'll put a range of frequency waves through the breast tissue and depending on how easily it passes through the tissue you can determine what it's composed of, its cellular structure and then we can compare that to the mammogram."
Dr Ryan said that there were drawbacks to mammograms, which weren't effective on younger women because of the composition of their breasts.With mammograms, we're taking a volume of breast tissue and condensing it to get a 2D image. We're missing the extra dimension," Dr Ryan added.