Monday, February 23, 2009
Medical Reports: Cancer Catcher
Getting a mammogram can often be uncomfortable for women. Now, researchers at FIU have developed a hand-held device they hope will one day detect breast cancer quick and painlessly. Seven's Diana Diaz shows us this Cancer Catcher.
WSVN -- Sarah Erickson was only in high school when she lost her mom to breast cancer. Watching her mother suffer was devastating.
Sarah Erickson: "It was very difficult to see that happening to my mom."
But that loss moved Sarah to build a career around fighting breast cancer. No, she didn't become a doctor but a biomedical engineering student who's now working to make breast cancer detection easier and better for women.
Sarah Erickson: "Having experienced this first hand with my mother I wanted to take charge of the situation in some way. I felt like there was something I had to."
Sarah and this team of FIU students led by Dr. Anu Godavarty have been hard at work for years to develop a non-invasive way to detect breast cancer. Eventually, this bulky machine will be turned into a small hand-held 3D imaging device that uses infrared light to spot tumors in the breast tissue.
Dr. Anu Godavarty: "You can take the device, it has a tendency to contour along the breast tissue, so you can go over different curvatures, and as you scan, the different regions of the breast are going to be imaged, and later you can stitch those images in order to get the 3D image of the entire breast."
The imaging process is painless for patients, and the team hopes the device can be used along with mammography.
Dr. Anu Godavarty: "The technique does not replace mammography at this stage. It is only helpful in terms of complimentary information."
The approval process for the device could take years, but no matter how long the journey, it's one Sarah is willing to make for her mother.
Sarah Erickson: "I think that she would be very proud of me to know that I am dedicating my life to helping others."
Diana Diaz: "The team just started human trials with the device at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center."