Breastlight History

In 1929 an American Surgeon, Max Cutler, was the first to show that breast cancer could be demonstrated by transmission of light through the tissues.

A subsequent study by Dr David J Watmough showed that the optical images of a cancer of the breast arose principally because of the associated angiogenesis (new blood vessels stimulated to develop by the cancer). The chaotic mass of vessels surrounding the tumour supply oxygen and nutrients to the cancer and permit accelerated tumor growth.

Clinical Trial Results

Published trials on Breastlight (Edinburgh & Aberdeen), using an earlier device, demonstrate that light-based technology can deliver high sensitivity levels (82%) in lesions over 1.5cm and useful levels (29%) in non palpable lesions.

Summary Of Consolidated Results:

Malignant tumours Detected by device Confirmed by biopsy Detection rate %
Total
139
169
82%
> 2cm
95
106
90%
< 2 cm
23
31
74%
Non palpable
4
14
29%
Not measured
17
18
94%

Background:

Earlier studies have shown that breast cancer can be demonstrated by transmission of light through the tissues (1,2). Optical images of cancer arise principally because of the associated angiogenesis.

Initial studies on the breast illumination method using earlier versions of the Breastlight device were carried out in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the University of Aberdeen.

Results:

The Edinburgh study (3) included a total of 129 patients with palpable lesions. Of these:

  • 74 patients had confirmed tumors
  • 55 patients had cysts or other benign disease.
Diagnosis​​ No Diagnosed​ By Device​ Percentage
Confirm Tumour
74
70
94.6%
Begin Disease
55
50
90.9%
False positive declarations were made on patients with blood filled cysts and abscesses.
In 56 of the patients the size of the lesions was estimated by the use of callipers. Detection rates with the device were:
Lesion Size Patients By Device Percentage
>2cm
38
38
100%
<2cm
15
18
93.3%

The Aberdeen (4) study involved 178 patients. Of these:

  • 69 had normal mammograms
  • 109 had abnormalities detected by mammography
  • Of the latter, 95 had confirmed breast cancer
  • The device detected 69 of the tumours (72%)
  • Of those not detected, 8 were ductal carcinomas in average size of cancers missed was 1.1cm

Detection rates by size of tumor amongst the 95 patients were:

 

Tumour Size Patients​ By Device​ Percentage
>2cm
38
57
83.3%
<2cm
13
8
61.5%
Non Palpable
134
4
28.6%

Of the 83 patients where no cancer was present, device detection rates were compared with mammography:

Method Paitent Percentage
Optical Device
68/83
81.9%
Mammogram
69/83
83.1%

Sources:

  • Cutler 1929
  • Watmough 1982
  • Bundred et al 1985 – download a copy of the Edinburgh trial (pdf:document)
  • Brittendon et al 1995 – download a copy of the Aberdeen trial (pdf:document)

Download a summary of all the clinical and user trial results (pdf:document)

Download a copy of  ‘Breastlight – a novel mode of looking at breast cancer with a significant potential and an example of alternative approaches to research’ by Jayant S Vaidya and Mangesh Torat (document)

For Help Feedback

01226 610 136

Keep an eye out in your email inbox, that’s where you will get a message back from our online support team.

Large Scale User Evaluation

In July 2008 PWB Health commissioned an independent market research company to carry out a large scale study on Breastlight usage.
The objectives of the study were to assess how Breastlight was used, how it affected women’s attitude to breast awareness and breast screening and to give an indication of the frequency of referrals.
breastlight-normal-breast
What to look for

When you are looking at your breasts with Breastlight you may also see other dark areas. These could look like very dark spots or a shadowy area.

breastlight-normal-breast
What You Will See

You will see veins & other blood vessels as dark shadow lines in your breast. Around nipple you may see circle of small dots – these are part of your mammary glands.

breastlight-normal-breast-screening
Normal Breast

This picture is the example of normal healthy breast.

breastlight-detect-lump
Lump Found

This picture shows Lumps found on breast.

breastlight-reviews
Sarah Johnson

People Say

It should go without saying that designers, now more than ever, have to design with a mobile-first mentality.
John Doe
Designer