Infusing Technology For The Fight Against Breast Cancer
You’ve undoubtedly heard about breast cancer but probably don’t know enough about it. Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breast. It occurs in both genders, primarily in women. Some symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple, and changes in the shape or texture of the breast or nipple. Did you know there are more than one hundred thousand breast cancer cases in Nigeria annually? Don’t get scared; breast cancer isn’t a death sentence. It is even easier to fight when detected at an early stage, and technology has played a pivotal role in the early detection of breast cancer. Here are some medical technologies that aid in the early detection of breast cancer.
Digital mammography is a technological improvement that can aid the detection of lesions film mammography would have missed. It also enables better detection of tumours obscured by the dense breast tissue frequently seen in younger women. It also improves screening mammography by allowing electronic storage, retrieval, and transmission of mammograms.
Computer-Aided Detection – CAD
These systems use sophisticated computer programs to recognise image patterns that might suggest a malignancy. If such patterns are detected, the CAD system notifies the radiologist, who can then examine the area more carefully. Several studies have indicated that CAD can improve a radiologist’s ability to detect and classify breast abnormalities on mammograms.
Ultrasound imaging helps to confirm whether the mass appearing on a mammogram is solid tissue or a harmless cyst containing fluid. An ultrasound imaging device emits high-frequency sound wave, which penetrates the body. When the wave bounces off the boundary between tissues in the body, it generates a distinctive echo used by a computer to generate an image known as a sonogram. Because a fluid-filled cyst has a different “sound signature” than a solid mass, radiologists can reliably use ultrasound to detect cysts commonly found in breasts. It also helps radiologists evaluate some lumps that can be felt but difficult to see on a mammogram, especially in women with dense breasts.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging – MRI
One outstanding usefulness of this breast cancer detection technology is that it can detect recurrent breast cancer in breasts previously subjected to lumpectomies because, unlike mammographies, MRIs are usually not limited by scarring that can occur after surgery. It can also detect tumours in women with breast implants or dense breasts, both of which can interfere with the interpretation of X-ray mammograms. It also proves helpful in screening high-risk young women who tend to have dense breasts.
You can help yourself fight against breast cancer by keeping a healthy lifestyle, communicating with your doctor if you are taking birth control pills to know about the risks, and breastfeeding your babies during the nursing stage.