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University of Manitoba student creates mobile breast cancer detector


Ms. Fontaine is from the Sagkeeng First Nation, approximately 100 kilometers northeast of Winnipeg.

Her research shows that some low- and middle-income countries that have lower rates of breast cancer have higher death rates. She attributes this finding to the lack of rapid detection of cancer.

If we do not have access to this rapid detection […] then it is more difficult to treat this cancer, when it is finally detected, she explains.

Gabrielle Fontaine’s invention uses microwave technology. Antennas arranged in a cylinder emit microwaves, which are then picked up by other antennas. The information is used to create an image.

I immediately thought it would be beneficial to use this in northern communities and aboriginal communities here in Canada, which don’t have the same access to medical centers, as we have here in town., she continues.

Microwaves are less powerful than X-rays, and therefore safer for repeated use, says Gabrielle Fontaine. She wants the machine to be easy to use.

I designed it [la machine] so that women can use it on their own. They will be able to insert their breast into the device, make it work on themselves, and thanks to artificial intelligence, they will immediately know if they have an abnormality in the breast., explains Ms. Fontaine.

The device has not yet been tested on humans.

Gabrielle Fontaine says it will be used in clinical trials if it can detect abnormalities in tissue mimicking breast tissue.

With information from Cory Funk

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