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Terahertz Technology Takes The Lead In The Fight Against Cancer

Finding out that youve got cancer is a moment every individual and their family dreads. Its estimated that one in three people in the United Kingdom will contract cancer at some point during their lifetime.

Sadly, that oft-repeated statistic is one many can relate to in terms of how cancer has affected their lives.

But breakthroughs in cancer imaging are leading the fight back against The Big C. Early cancer detection is crucial. To have the best possible chance of making a full recovery its vital to catch the disease early. Thankfully, these latest developments are enabling doctors to do just that.

Modern technology, including the use of unique terahertz (THz) light, is building up a powerful armoury. The battle lines have been drawn in a bid to reduce the 157,000 (according to figures published in 2008 by the Macmillan Cancer Support charity) deaths a year in the UK from cancer.

How can Terahertz light detect cancer?

Lying between microwave and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum, terahertz light has unique cancer imaging properties. Companies utilising these on a commercial scale have opened up a number of imaging opportunities.

Until recently, it remained a largely unexplored member of the spectrum. But now scientists have discovered ways to harness the power of bright terahertz light. The results have been impressive. Applications that can be used for security, pharmaceutical purposes and even defect detection in car paints are now being worked on.

This multi-functionality and development has also extended to cancer imaging. Indeed, the huge medical potential of terahertz spectroscopy is now being realised.

Patented terahertz pulsed imaging (TPIT) recognises spectral fingerprints and can examine different types of soft tissue. It also provides a breakdown of the level of water content present as well as detecting other indicators of cancer.

Gold standard 3D imaging maps are an essential part of the cancer detection process. TPIT technology is enabling the production of these images and can produce faster results than X-Ray.

However, the fundamental benefit of using terahertz light in screening is not necessarily its ability to quickly produce maps. Rather, it is that TPIT cancer imaging can help differentiate between cancerous and non-cancerous tissues.

In addition, and perhaps one of the major advantages of terahertz, is its ability to do so in a non-invasive manner. Meanwhile, using non-ionized radiation maintains the safety of the procedure.

Terahertz and breast cancer imaging

Terahertz waves have already proven their success at detecting skin and other surface cancers. Now, the power of terahertz technology has extended its reach to providing an accurate diagnosis of breast cancer.

When dealing with breast cancer, what do patients yearn for as part of their treatment? The answers are likely to include quicker testing and a reduced number of operations.

Intra-operative terahertz probes are now being used in major hospitals. They can ascertain in real-time how successful an operation to remove diseased tissue has been. Rather than waiting 2-3 weeks for the result of a biopsy, women can find out almost immediately if further operations are required.

Instead of undergoing more surgery that may be relying on estimates, terahertz probes can provide a higher rate of specificity. Essentially, they will provide accurate breast cancer imaging results that determine whether the tissue is now only surrounded by healthy cells.

Clinical trials have demonstrated the non-invasive and safe use of terahertz light to detect cancer. As a result, a range of technologies are being rapidly developed that harness the power of terahertz for cancer imaging.

Early detection of the disease and successfully determining affected areas is crucial. Using terahertz technology enables the fast and accurate examination of diseased tissue. This new form of imaging is leading the way in the fight against cancer.

TeraView are harnessing the power of terahertz light to provide revolutionary cancer imaging services. They have developed non-invasive and safe technologies that can detect the early stages of cancer and reduce the need for multiple operations.

Terahertz cancer imaging- from TeraView