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Promising advance in detection of breast cancer

4 October 2018

A new technique developed by Australian researchers will assist in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.

The researchers used the Australian Synchrotron in Clayton, Victoria to develop a new application of an advanced imaging technique, which could be used on patients by 2020.

Speaking at the Australian Synchrotron campus to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews said the research promised a great advance in breast cancer screening.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women. There are currently over 800,000 mammograms performed in Australia each year,” Minister Andrews said.

“As many women will know, the experience of getting a mammogram can be uncomfortable and in too many cases the existing technology means cancers are missed.

“This research will mean better image quality, a more accurate diagnosis, and a smaller radiation dose. Importantly, there will be no discomfort for patients as the breast compression process will no longer be necessary.

“In 2016, the Coalition Government invested $520 million over ten years in the Australian Synchrotron as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda and I am pleased to see it assisting these kinds of advances.”

Minister Andrews commended the scientists involved, led by Professor Patrick Brennan of the University of Sydney and Dr Tim Gureyev of the University of Melbourne with the support of instrument scientist Dr Daniel Häusermann.

The research is being supported by the Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which operates the Australian Synchrotron, and a National Health and Medical Research Council grant of $687,000 over three years, to ready the technique for use with the first patients by 2020.

Media contact: Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070