Method for Determining Peripheral Breast Thickness
Each year, 182,000 women are struck by breast cancer in the United States alone. The earlier the disease is detected, the better the prognosis. To this end, there are about 14,000 mammography machines installed in the United States, performing about 24 million mammograms a year, nine out of 10 of which are routine screenings performed on asymptomatic women.
Mammographic density has been linked to an increased chance for breast cancer. Women with high mammographic densities have been shown to be at an increased risk of breast cancer, when compared to a woman whose breasts are composed mainly of fatty or adipose tissue. The general distribution of parenchyma, stroma and fat, can yield very strong estimates of breast cancer risk.
Various systems and methods have been developed to quantify breast density in terms of the fraction of the projected breast area that is occupied by radiographically dense tissue. However, there are at least two limitations to the current methods:
Information about the three-dimensional conformation of the breast is not used and; The actual thickness of the compressed breast cannot be measured at the periphery of the breast and therefore volumetric density of the compressed breast cannot be determined. Technology
The inventors have devised a method, computer software product and computer system for analyzing digital mammograms that determines the thickness of a breast at its periphery. This enables the calculation of volumetric breast density and therefore a means by which to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer.
A US patent application entitled “Method and Apparatus for Determining Peripheral Breast Thickness” has been filed.
The Innovations Group is seeking a commercial partner to exploit this novel technology. The technology is available under a non-exclusive license.
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