Detecting Breast Cancer Using a Pill

While still in experimental stages, this lighting pill could aid be a more precise method of detecting breast cancer, making treatment more effective.
Detecting Breast Cancer Using a Pill

Last update: 24 April, 2019

Until now, detecting breast cancer has been done with self-exams and mammograms. However, there have been cases where diagnostic techniques that use X-rays can give false positives.

For this reason, scientists have been working on new methods for detecting breast cancer earlier on through safe and accurate screenings.

In a study by the University of Michigan, a pill was created that has the ability to make detecting breast cancer cells easier.

While the pill is still in the experimental stage, it has the ability to more precisely identify the location of cancer cells.

In this article, we’ll go into more detail.

Detecting Breast Cancer Could be Quicker and More Reliable

False positives are very common when it comes to breast cancer. However, a new pill aims to provide a more accurate diagnosis for women.

Since the pill is still in the testing phase, they have yet to test it on humans.

According to the director of the study, Greg Thurber, the pill is being used in European clinics and they’ve seen great success, so expectations are very high.

woman with pill

The Pill for Detecting Breast Cancer that Only “Lights up” Cancer Cells

The way this pill works is very simple. The patient ingests the tablet orally. Then, it slowly releases a fluorescent agent that that will immediately stick to cancer cells if present. Doctors can then see the cancer cells using simple X-ray images.

Scientists developed this technique because mammograms aren’t very precise in cases involving women with dense breasts. Additionally, ordinary diagnostic techniques don’t show specialists if the cells or the tumor are carcinogenic or benign, which is why false positives are common.

This technique was presented with high expectations at the 251st American Chemical Society’s Annual Meeting & Exposition (ACS).

In an experiment with rats, it was proven that this pill immediately identified tumor cells.

However, if the tumor is benign, the fluorescent light did not appear. This would eliminates the need for a biopsy.

The Power of New Technology in Following Cancer

causes-of-breast-cancer-that-you-should-know-about, detecting breast cancer

Time remains a key factor for obtaining an early diagnosis and lessening the severity of all types of cancer.

Currently, the luminescent light from this pill can only distinguish between cancerous and benign tumors. However, it’s unable to show the rate at which the malignant cells are growing.

Nevertheless, creators of the pill are now trying to include a new element that has the ability to identify the rate of tumor growth.

This new element would allow patients to receive an immediate diagnosis and treatment tailored to their specific needs.

Doing so will also prevent techniques from being used that are too aggressive or not aggressive enough. Using the wrong techniques could worsen the situation.

Big steps, Higher Hopes

It’s imperative for doctors to be able to detect cancer early on. However, in some cases, this is impossible.

In spite of those severe cases, having breast cancer does not mean a death sentence.

Thanks to advancements in treatment and detection methods, we’re now facing a treatable disease that millions of women have already overcome.

women running

Breast cancer survivors are authentic heroes that show us that courage and strength can overcome cancer. However, we still need to be very aware of the following things. In order to help prevent or detect breast cancer, you should:

  • Perform monthly breast exams.
  • Undergo periodic exams with your healthcare provider and get your mammograms.
  • Live a healthy life, avoid being overweight, not smoke or lead a sedentary life.
  • Increase preventative measures and exams if you have a family history of breast cancer.