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Can Technology Help Prevent Cancer?

My game plan is to research, condense my findings, and translate it into everyday language for busy people.


With as widespread a disease as cancer is, one of the best ways to battle cancer is early detection. Technological advancements are being made that aid in the detection of cancer so that when it is caught early on, detection and prevention of further cancer is made. This exciting new technology is a game changer. It is helping people in getting screened and thereby preventing the spread of cancer. It is helping decrease deaths due to cancer through the earlier detection which means earlier treatment Many of the traditional procedures to detect and prevent can be very invasive and unwanted on part of the patient. Many people avoid going through these screenings. Technology is changing and new ways of less invasive screenings are being invented and advanced to help decrease the spread of cancer within the body.

One of the problems surgeons face when removing a tumor is trying to figure out where the tumor starts and ends. They do not want to unnecessarily remove healthy tissue. However, they also do not want to leave cancerous tissue within the body and increase the chance of cancer returning to the patient. The present way surgeons determine the exact location of a tumor is one hundred years old. It is a process called histopathology which involves cutting out the tissue, having it frozen, and taken to a lab to have it analyzed . This process can be difficult and sometimes faulty.

To combat this difficulty, a hand held and biocompatible device that is connected to a high performance mass spectrometer called the MedSpace pen has been invented. This device identifies the molecular profile of the tissue being assessed during surgery very quickly. It drops a drop of water on the tissue and then the drop is transferred to the mass spectrometer. This is where the cancerous or non cancerous molecules of the tissue are identified. Then, the machine assesses the molecular information and gives a diagnosis that the surgeons can use in assessing the tissue.

We have developed the MasSpec Pen so that the surgeon just has to touch the tissue with the pen, and trigger the system with a foot pedal. From there, everything is coded and automated so that the whole process is completed in ten seconds."

— Principal Investigator Livia Eberlin Ph.D.

Another area of cancer detection that is being advanced concerns colon cancer. A colonoscopy is a very invasive procedure. So, as a less invasive means of analyzing the colon, the company known as Check Cap invented a pill that uses low dose x-rays to screen the digestive system as it goes through the G.I. tract. The scans are to try and detect precancerous polyps in the colon. It is not used as cancer treatment. Once the capsule has completed scanning, it is excreted and flushed down the toilet. The data from the capsule is on the patient's back. If a polyp is detected than a colonoscopy is required.

Most colon screening technologies use video technology while entering into the colon and this requires preparation because there can be obstructions that interfere with visualization. The creator tried to think of something that could overcome that and could change the pre-screening requirements. The technology that came to his mind was x-ray."

— Alex Ovadia, C.E.O. of Check-Cap

Other than colon cancer, another difficult cancer to screen for is breast cancer. Getting a mammogram is invasive and is not accessible to everyone. A Mexican teenager, Julia Rias Cantru with a couple of friends came out with the company, "Hygia Technologies" where they invented a bra called "Eva" that can detect breast cancer with auto exploration. What spawned this to happen is he almost lost his mother to breast cancer. This bra has tactile sensors that monitor the temperature, color, and texture of womens' breasts. The reason this technology can detect cancer is because a tumor would receive more blood flow to it and therefore would have a hotter temperature than a place without a tumor. So, the information is recorded and put into an app. The woman can review the information. If a change in color, temperature, texture, etc. remains altered for a period of time, she will be alerted to see a doctor. The bra would only have to be worn once a week to record the data.

In conclusion, technology is being created and advanced to detect cancer and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. These devices have life saving implications and can include parts of the population that either do not have access to certain screenings or will all together avoid certain screenings. This is bettering the lives of humans and making it easier to discover disease so that treatment can begin. Such innovative technology could have life saving implications in other areas of disease and treatment, not just cancer. More research and studying of these new devices needs to be done.

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