Self-check breast cancer tool wins UK Dyson award

Dotplot has been awarded the prestigious UK James Dyson Award for helping women self-check for breast cancer

Dotplot, a small, hand-held device that allows women to self-check for breast cancer at home, has been awarded the UK James Dyson Award. 

The device connects to a smart device app, which can be used to track any changes to tissue in the breast. To do so, users build a personal profile of their breast shape and size and take a new reading monthly. 

The technology sends sound waves to record tissue composition - if any suspicious changes or abnormalities are detected, the device alerts the user to see a healthcare professional.

Medical professionals have praised the device – especially as breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK – yet they have warned that it is not a substitute for professional medical examinations.

Oncologist Dr Frankie Jackson-Spence said: "Obviously, it's in the early stages of development, so it does need to go through medicine regulatory device checks to make sure that it is actually adequate at detecting breast cancers. It isn't a substitute for going to your doctor - it doesn't diagnose anything."

Early diagnosis 

Every year, the UK alone sees 11,500 breast cancer deaths – only 1% of these are men.

The device has been praised for supporting early diagnosis, which increases the survival rates of patients. The survival rate for stage-one breast cancer is ~95%. By the time this develops to stage four, survival rates are ~25%. 

Although lumps are believed to be the most common indicator of breast cancer, experts explain that there are other symptoms to look out for. "There are other signs of the disease to look for,” Manveet Basra wellbeing head at charity Breast Cancer Now told the BBC.

"These include nipple discharge or dimpling or puckering of the skin of the breast. While most breast changes, including lumps, won't be cancer, it's important to contact your GP as soon as possible if you notice a change to your breast that's new or unusual for you, as the sooner breast cancer is found, the more successful treatment is likely to be.”

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