Breast self-monitoring will help empower women

While a biomedical student at NASA, Yehudit Abrams was researching the potential use of ultrasound to monitor astronauts on the International Space Station. But it was the loss of her cousin in a car crash who was a breast cancer survivor that inspired Abrams to develop a new handheld ultrasound device that women can use at home to monitor their breast tissue.

“She was so passionate about the early detection of cancer, and I wanted to honour her for that,” says Abrams, a doctor and mechanical engineer who immigrated to Israel last year from the US. “That is what got me thinking about using some sort of portable ultrasound for early detection of cancer,” she told website WeWork.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and represents about 12 percent of all new cancer cases worldwide, according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. In a report this year by the World Cancer Research Fund, there have been two million cases of breast cancer worldwide so far in 2018. Cancer Australia revealed that 18,235 people have been diagnosed in 2018 in Australia, 148 of whom are men and 18,808 are women.

The MonitHer device has the potential to change the way breast cancer is detected and is winning awards and gaining recognition around the world.

“I’m empowering women,” Abrams said.

Women using the device will scan their breasts once a month for about 10 minutes, WeWork reported. A software program (U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved) then scans the images for any changes over time. If the software detects any potential problems, users will be advised to consult a physician.

By monitoring their breast tissue over a period of time, Abrams says women will be able to detect cancer earlier than the traditional method of self-exams where women feel each breast in order to find lumps or swelling.

“We are changing the paradigm from breast cancer screening to breast health monitoring,” Abrams said.

Realising that women often don’t know what they are feeling or meant to feel when performing self-checks on their breasts, Abrams started working on an app that included a breast map that would allow women to mark anything they found on their breasts and monitor developments on a monthly basis.

The handheld MonitHer device seems a promising way forward in the health arena, taking away the doubt and speculation in self-examination and providing a more reliable tracking of breast health.

Click here for the story at WeWork

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