Breastlight is a new product which is designed to be used as an aid to breast awareness by women at home. Breastlight is a handheld device that transilluminates the breast with a red light (617nm) that is absorbed by haemoglobin so that areas of high vascularity (such as malignant tumours) should appear black. Clinical trials with its prototype in Edinburgh and Aberdeen had a sensitivity of 70-90%.
The current version of Breastlight was evaluated on 300 subjects who were referred to the breast clinic in Sunderland for a variety of reasons. All subjects had both breasts examined using Breastlight. The researchers retrospectively identified the index breast for which women had been referred by her GP.
In the 300 patients recruited to complete the study, 58 biopsies were performed (two women had both breasts biopsied). A diagnosis of cancer was made in 18 women and a variety of benign diagnoses was made in 40 biopsies.