Mexican Researcher Develops New Breast Cancer Detection Method 

 enero 25, 2022

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Breast cancer is one of the main causes of death in Mexico with 15 out of 100,000 women dying from this disease in 2012 and 26.6 new cases out of 100,000. Prevention and early detection is the name of the game when it comes to protecting the population, especially when only 10% of malignant breast tumors are caught in the initial stages. Mexico Health Review 2015 included an article about a technique developed by IPN researchers to reduce the number of false positives attained from mammograms aimed at supporting physicians in making the best diagnostic and treatment decisions. Now, a researcher from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi (UASLP) developed a method for early detection of breast cancer based on a thermographic scan.

Dr. Francisco Javier González Contreras explained to the CONACYT Information Agency that this method is 90% effective in diagnosing breast cancer. This type of cancer has a higher temperature than normal tissues due to over-active cell division, which can be detected by infrared thermography. Besides from being non-invasive, this technique can detect tumors with a diameter shorter than 6 millimeters, while a woman starts feeling a lump when it is bigger than one centimeter – at that point the tumor would have already been growing for three to five years.

This diagnostic method is already recognized as an adjunct diagnostic test by the FDA, which should be followed by an ultrasound to provide a more precise diagnosis. More studies are necessary to validate it as an efficient and accurate diagnostic method though. Despite existing since the 1980s, this technique is little used in cancer detection today, which is expected to change with recent advances in image quality. Compared to mammography, infrared thermography does not use radiation and provides a functional analysis of the breast rather than an anatomical image. Furthermore, it can be used in young women and in patients undergoing hormonal therapy, unlike mammograms, which cannot provide accurate interpretations of the images of a dense, young breast.

Infrared thermography is intended to be used in the detection of cancer in remote communities with no healthcare centers, and researchers are looking for patients willing to participate in more studies to evaluate this diagnostic method and verify its effectiveness and accuracy. The method developed by Dr. González consists of 1) stabilizing body temperature, 2) taking the photograph with an IR camera, 3) analyzing the image and comparing one breast to the other, 4) assigning a score to all disparities and abnormalities identified, 5) providing a preliminary diagnosis which has to be confirmed with 6) ultrasound images.

We hope Dr. González succeeds in scalating the project and making it an accessible solution for unprotected patients in Mexico.

Source: CONACYT Agencia Informativa.

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