Lauren Valenti, Vogue Magazine
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide with an estimated 1.7 million new diagnoses each year, according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. A global health emergency, it’s that much more acute in developing countries where the majority of cases are identified in late stages. Which is why a new weapon in prevention is causing a global fervor.
Known as iBreastExam, the FDA-cleared wireless handheld device can detect tumor tissue using new tactile sensing technology in under five minutes without causing pain or emitting harmful radiation.
While Ari D. Brooks, M.D. and director of the Integrated Breast Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, underlines that the iBreastExam isn’t meant to replace or compete with mammograms, which remain the standard of care in the field, he acknowledges that it could serve as a more thorough precautionary measure in routine physical exams for women of all ages, especially those under 40 who are not eligible for screening.
“If placed in primary care and ob-gyn offices, it could help document and augment the physician’s exam of a patient’s breast,”
he explains, adding that it might also identify more women with findings worth sending on for mammogram and ultrasound evaluation. Additionally, this technology may help women and their doctors feel more comfortable during in-office breast exams. “Many women feel [lumps, but] they aren’t comfortable with their own self-exam,” explains Dr. Brooks. “Using the iBreastExam in the doctor’s office may help them feel confident that they do or do not feel something.”
Whether or not the iBreastExam becomes a doctor’s-office mainstay or not, there’s no denying that the technology is already having a significant impact in the fight against breast cancer, not just by making early detection easier for those who need it most, but by creating more awareness in how women can be more proactive in lowering their risk—and offering one more tool in the fight against this crucial disease.
This Article is authored by Lauren Valenti, Vogue Magazine