Synchrotron research to aid cancer detection

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Researchers have used the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne to develop a new technique designed to assist in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.

The research, which could in use by 2020, will mean better image quality, a more accurate diagnosis, and a smaller radiation dose.

Importantly, there will be no discomfort for patients as the breast compression process will no longer be necessary.

Speaking at the Australian Synchrotron campus to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, industry minister Karen Andrews said the research had the potential to deliver a significant advance in breast cancer screening.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women. There are currently over 800,000 mammograms performed in Australia each year,” said minister Andrews.

“As many women will know, the experience of getting a mammogram can be uncomfortable and in too many cases the existing technology means cancers are missed."

Minister Andrews commended the scientists involved, led by Professor Patrick Brennan of the University of Sydney and Dr Tim Gureyev of the University of Melbourne with the support of instrument scientist Dr Daniel Häusermann.

The research is being supported by the Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which operates the Australian Synchrotron, and a National Health and Medical Research Council grant of $687,000 over three years, to ready the technique for use with the first patients by 2020.