Radio Waves Used Scanner detects breast cancer more accurately than conventional devices


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cancer_scanner.jpgA government-backed research institute in South Korea has developed a set of devices that use radio waves to detect breast cancer, claiming a breakthrough in developing a cheaper and more accurate screening method. The scanning system created by ETRI bounces radio waves with a frequency range between 300 megahertz and 3 gigahertz off the tissues of patients and converts them into computerized images. The scanning system can measure tumors as small as 5 millimeters. In comparison, similar devices used in the United States can detect tumors of around 2 centimeters. The Korean officials claimed that the radio wave scanner is safer than X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices, with the exposure to radioactive waves or magnetic fields not being an issue.


The device developed by ETRI is also more patient-friendly, as patients just need to lie upon a couch for a few seconds, instead of having scanners pressed hard against their breasts during mammography. ETRI will provide its technology to two local device makers, which will commercialize the devices after clinical tests.