01. 31. 2007
Improved breast cancer screening from Z-Tech
It's a known fact that the key to curing breast cancer is early detection and prompt treatment. Hence, recent reports suggesting that screening for breast cancer is declining among women in the U.S. is worrying health officials. The reasons cited for this decline include insufficient access to mammography facilities and, surpisingly, apathy and indifference among women about the entire process. The second reason could be related to the fact that mammography screening methods have always suffered from higher costs, dangers from increased exposure to harmful radiation and confusion over the diagnostic accuracy.
The solution to tackling these issues may lie with the new breast screening device from Z-Tech. The device works on the principle that the breast tissue has electrical properties, and when malignancy sets in these tissues, electricity flows more easily through it. So by comparing the relative electrical impedance between the two breasts (in simpler words, the one that allows more electricity to flow through it), it is possible to detect the cancerous one. The actual physical setup consists of 12 flower-petal shaped sensors that fit around the breast. Each of these petals is equipped with electrodes that send and receive an imperceptible, low level electrical current into and out of a breast. The impedance data collected by these sensors are transmitted to a computer that does the number crunching and presents the diagnosis in real time.
The pros of this method are many - it is painless, safe with no harmful radiation, quick (requires only 3 minutes to complete) and does not require an expert technician. Most importantly, preliminary results indicate the device is more effective than mammography, especially among young patients. However, as with any new technology, there are a lot of skeptics and more trials and improvements are required before this device can be rolled out as a replacement for existing screening methods. Till then, it can still serve a useful role in areas where access to mammography is limited or non-existent. Z-Tech plans to launch it this year in Asia and Europe, while in the U.S. a trial is on to achieve premarket approval.