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Technology and Breast Cancer

We’ve come a long way in the world of cancer detection and treatment, after the first recorded case of breast cancer was documented in Egypt around 1600BC. The reported cases of cancer are said to have skyrocketed over the last century or so; modern diets, lifestyles, and the release of industrial toxins into the environment are all among the contributors to a drastic increase in the prevalence of the disease. However, research into the prevention and early detection of cancer is entering a new generation. Medical researchers now have a greater understanding of the development and progression of cancers and the availability of powerful new technologies has enabled the approach to preventing, screening and managing early-stage cancer to be more refined. A cancer diagnosis no longer necessarily equates to a certainty of all “doom and gloom”.

Here are a few ways in which modern innovations are helping medical professionals detect and treat the disease…

Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI)
Mammography has been around for over 50 years, and has been a loyal and relatively successful method used to detect cancer in the breast. However, it does have its limitations. Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) technology was introduced as an aid to mammography, which is the process of X-raying the breasts to locate the presence of denser tissue, which could potentially be cancer. With MBI, the patient is injected with a small amount of a radioactive substance, which is then absorbed by any tumours which may be in the breast and light up when the image is created by a special camera, called a nuclear medicine scanner. Essentially, one would see a “hot spot” on the camera, pinpointing the exact location of the tumour – that’s pretty neat.

The Cancer Pain Manager
The days of cancer patients being subjected to continuous, increasing doses of painkillers are well on their way out. Companies are now developing devices that help ease symptoms and side effects. Quell, for example, is a wearable technology with intensive nerve stimulation that is clinically proven to help manage chronic pain, both when the patient is active, as well as in a rested state.

The Breast Cancer Risk Identifier
BREVAGenplus is a clinically validated test for sporadic breast cancer, which combines clinical risk factors with an individual’s DNA to determine their risk of developing breast cancer. Based on results, healthcare providers can develop an individualized Breast Cancer Risk Reduction and Screening Plan that outlines the most effective means and timeline for monitoring a patient’s ongoing breast health.


Smartphone-Size Devices That Can Diagnose Cancer
Now this one’s quite interesting. A startup has invented a low-cost, solar battery powered DNA analyser the size of a smartphone. Q-Poc is said to be able to accurately diagnose everything from cancers to infectious diseases within a matter of minutes. The goal is to have it ready for use in the healthcare sector by 2018. This could really make waves in the healthcare sector in the developing world.

Knowledge is POWER
Aside from the devices being developed that would directly assist medical professionals and patients (both current and potential), researchers are now able to probe into a world of information at the touch of a button. They have access to all that is required to unlock the discoveries resulting in breakthroughs in the developments of treatments and screening methods. With the necessary tools and resources, today’s dream could very likely be tomorrow’s reality!

The Human Factor
Medical professionals are not the only ones directly benefitting from the ever-developing world of tech and innovation…. Those affected by cancer, both directly and indirectly, are now open to a wealth of information and support. Easy access to awareness and education and engagement with a fellow patient on the other side of the globe are opportunities that were unheard of over a century ago.

To drive this important awareness, weFix is running a Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign, to offer 4 women the opportunity to get themselves checked. While repairing tech is very important to us, we’re all about people too! If you'd like the chance to get checked, or know someone who may, visit our Facebook Breast Cancer Awareness post for more information. .