Hitachi develops new ultrasound method to detect breast cancer

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby


Hitachi Ltd. has developed a new ultrasound screening technology that can easily detect breast cancer without causing pain.

The electronics giant aims to put the technology into practical use around 2020 through joint research with Hokkaido University Hospital.

Hitachi has already successfully detected a 5-millimeter tumor in a clinical test on a dog.

Patients undergoing screenings lie face down on an examination table and put their breasts into an attached container filled with water where ultrasonic waves are beamed from 360 degrees for scanning.

The scanning finishes in about one minute, analyzing various characteristics of tumors, including their hardness and surface roughness, Hitachi said. The surface roughness of a malignant tumor tends to be more remarkable than that of a benign tumor.

As methods to detect breast cancer, mammography and ultrasound scanning are currently common.

Mammography using X-rays exposes examinees to a low level of radiation and could be accompanied by pain because the breasts need to be flattened for better images of breast tissue. In ultrasound scanning, detectability depends on the skills of examiners.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide in terms of both incidence and mortality.