Tool to spot breast cancer at home wins UK Dyson award

This article was taken from:







By  Shiona McCallum Technology reporter BBC News









A device to help detect breast cancer has won the prestigious UK James Dyson Award.






The Dotplot aims to help women self-check at home and track any changes they may find on an app.







Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK but many women do not carry out regular self-examinations.







Medical professionals have welcomed the invention but warn it is no substitute for going to the doctor.







Users build a personalised map of their torso by inputting their breast size and shape and pressing the handheld device over their chest.







Once a month, soundwaves are used to record tissue composition – and if there are any suspicious changes or abnormalities, users are advised to see a healthcare professional.







The technology is very similar to mammograms for over-50s or ultrasound scans offered to women worried about a lump.









Oncologist Dr Frankie Jackson-Spence said: “Obviously, it’s in the early stages of development, so it does need to go through medicine regulatory device checks to make sure that it is actually adequate at detecting breast cancers.







“It isn’t a substitute for going to your doctor – it doesn’t diagnose anything.”






Survival rate







The earlier cancerous tissue is detected, the better.







The five-year survival rate for stage-one breast cancer is about 95%, which drops to about 25% by the time the cancer is in stage four.







Every year, there are 11,500 breast-cancer deaths in the UK.







Only 1% of cases are in males.







But 64% of women aged 18-35 fail to regularly check their breasts, according Cancer Research UK and CoppaFeel.







“It’s important that you check all over the breast – including up into the armpit and up to the collarbone,” Dr Jackson-Spence said.







Nipple discharge







But it is not just about looking for lumps.







Manveet Basra wellbeing head at charity Breast Cancer Now, told BBC News: “There are other signs of the disease to look for.







“These include nipple discharge or dimpling or puckering of the skin of the breast.







“While most breast changes, including lumps, won’t be cancer, it’s important to contact your GP as soon as possible if you notice a change to your breast that’s new or unusual for you, as the sooner breast cancer is found, the more successful treatment is likely to be.”






Debra Babalola and Shefali Bohra, recent innovation design engineering graduates at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, co-founded Dotplot, after Ms Bohra discovered an unusual knot – which turned out to be harmless – in one of her breasts following a gym workout.







“We just started to talk to clinicians and we spoke to loads of women,” she said.







“We realised that women are looking for a way that not only tells them what has to be done but also teaches them how and why breast self-checks and supposed to be conducted.







Ms Babalola said: “We’re not replacing medical professionals, we are enabling women to be confident in the self-checks they are doing.”







Dotplot will now progress to the international stage of the James Dyson Award, with the winner announced on 16 November.







The award describes itself as an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers.







One in five inventors from the award go on to commercialise their inventions.