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Sunday 24th June 2018

Bubbles to find cancer

10th November 2009

Researchers at a Kent hospital have created a new technique which uses very small bubbles to identify cancer in the body.


Doctors at the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust used the "microbubbles" to look for cancer in 54 patients as part of a study.

Their findings, which were published in the British Journal of Surgery, pointed to a way of breast cancer patients being able to avoid surgery.

Dr Ali Sever, consultant radiologist, who headed the research team, said: "This is a world first. The test only takes a few minutes to perform and has transformed the way we care for patients."

Currently, patients with breast cancer who undergo surgery are usually recommended to have an operation to find out if their lymph glands in their armpits are also cancerous. If they are, the patient has to have another operation to remove them.

The microbubble technique would allow a radiologist to perform a test for cancer with only a fine needle biopsy and ultrasound.

It was found to be 89% more accurate than the current technique for locating cancer, where patients are injected with coloured dye during an operation.

Dr Sever added: "The use of ultrasound with microbubbles to detect the sentinel lymph node is unique and something that will benefit breast cancer care around the world."

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