New breast cancer technology could end multiple surgery claim scientists

In collaboration with the Press Association

A new on-the-spot method of analysing tissue following breast cancer treatment could end the need for multiple samples and additional surgery, claim researchers.

Current methods of detecting residual cancerous cells after breast cancer surgery involve sending tissue samples to a laboratory. This can take several days, and may result in repeat surgery.

The new research uses a type of radiation known as terahertz radiation, which lies between infrared and microwave radiation, to detect cancerous tissue.

If the technology fulfils its early promise, it could one day offer a quick and reliable way of detecting cancerous tissue once the main tumour has been removed. Analysis could take less than five minutes, the researchers claim.

"We found that terahertz light could reliably distinguish between normal breast tissue, tumor and even early-stage 'in situ' cancers in excised tissue samples," said lead researcher Dr Vincent Wallace.

"This technology could aid the surgeon in immediately identifying residual cancer after the main tumour has been removed, thus minimizing the need for additional surgical procedures."

The technology was developed by TeraView, the study was carried out at the Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, and is reported in the journal Radiology.

Read more about breast cancer treatment on CancerHelp UK