Nihon University exhibited a portable "breast cancer checker" at Medica 2011, a healthcare-related trade show that took place from Nov 16 to 19, 2011, in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The university expects that the checker will be used for easy cancer tests at home, etc.
The checker was showcased at Japan Pavilion, a booth of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). It is small and light enough to be held by one hand and applied to the breast. Unlike mammography, it is not necessary to sandwich the breast. We were not allowed to take a picture of a prototype of the checker.
For the breast cancer checker, Nihon University used a technology called "phase shift method." Light-emitting and light-receiving elements using LEDs were formed on the surface to be applied to the breast.
The checker emits light with a wavelength of 850nm and detects light reflected from the breast. The color of a cancerous part is slightly different (redder) from the color of the area surrounding it because of the concentration of blood vessels, the university said. As a result, more light is absorbed in a cancerous area, reducing the amount of light reflected from the area.
Such a difference can be seen on the display equipped on the side opposite to the surface having light-emitting and light-receiving elements.
The breast cancer checker is currently being tested in animal experiments, the university said.