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The era of ‘metal detector’ in breast cancer treatment in the UK

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A special device that works like a metal detector is in the middle of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) recommended procedures for breast cancer treatment.

According to the news of BBC Digital Health Editor Michelle Roberts, the device aims to detect whether breast cancer has spread.

The procedure recommended by NICE, the UK’s health and care supervisory body, could also facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in hospitals.

HOW DOES THE DEVICE WORK?

This noisy device, called the Sentimag, tracks the magnetic fluid (Magtrace) injected around the cancerous tissue as it is moved on the surface of the skin.

The device, which monitors where the fluid is headed in the body, also starts beeping when it detects areas where the cancer may have spread.

A biopsy can then be performed by taking tissue or fluid from the cancerous cell.

MANY officials, Jeanette Kusel, said, “People with breast cancer want to know whether the cancer has spread to other organs,” and pointed out that with this technology, cancer diagnosis and treatment can be done faster in hospitals that do not have radiology units or have limited facilities.

Today, some hospitals resort to methods such as injecting harmless radioactive dye or ultrasound.

However, hospitals in many countries do not have access to these technologies.

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MAKES BIOPSY EASIER

The Sentimag device works by injecting a brown liquid containing magnetic iron oxide.

When injected, this liquid is absorbed by the lymphatic system in particles, and proceeds in the way that cancer cells are expected to follow when they spread from one tumor to another. These cells stick to the lymph nodes in areas such as the armpits more than once.

The liquid also stains the lymph nodes dark brown, making it easier for doctors to biopsy.

Although some patients notice a color change in the skin tissue after the injection, this brownish color disappears over time.

British Health Minister Sajid Javid says the device can prevent the spread of breast cancer, the most common type of cancer in the UK.

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