Breast Cancer: IIT researchers develop new technique for early detection

Researchers from IIT-Roper have developed a new technique for early detection of Breast cancer. Researchers claim, the infrared technique is fast and non-invasive. Infrared Thermography, will locate tumors which can’t be easily located by mammography

A woman’s guide to breast cancer

  • Now, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Indian women, constituting about 27% of all female cancers and incidence rates begin to rise in the early thirties and peak at ages 50-64 years.
  • Overall, 1 in 28 women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
  • India accounts for the third highest number of breast cancer cases among women after USA and China. More than 10 % are hereditary and can be predicted by genetic analysis.

Early detection plays a very important role, in the treatment and management of the Breast cancer. If, detected yearly, breast cancer can be cured, and the patient can live normal life. But, unavailability of the healthcare facilities, lack of awareness and unaffordable treatment are the major contributing factors for the rise in number of Breast cancer cases.

In order to overcome these hurdles, and help early detection of breast cancer across all the ages, the Indian Institute of Technology, Roper, has developed a new technique. Researchers claim, that this technique is fast, painless and non-contact.

How this new technique works?   

  • The technique uses Infrared emission emanating from the Breast to detect hidden tumors at a very early stage
  • Predefined thermal stimulus on the area under examination
  • External thermal stimulus is applied on breast which is to be examined. This is to create significant temperature difference
  • Thermal waves generated diffuse into the breast and produce similar temperature distribution on the skin surface 
  • The tumor inside the breast, changes the heat flow, which results in temperature gradients over the surface

While speaking about this new technique, Ravibabu Maluvessala, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, said, “Infrared Thermography is fast and non-invasive imaging method, compatible to mammography and ultrasound, which are used for early detection of breast cancer.”

He further added, “In ‘dense breast’ mammography, has its own limitations.”

Maluvessala explained further, “In dense breast, there is less amount of fat, and gland tissues are more. Owing to which, the mammography, can’t detect the tumors. Especially, if the tumor is situated in the gland region.”