At Sunderland City Hospital, Breastlight, the hand held device, for women to use at home, has been trialled on 300 women patients and the findings were examined compared to mammography, ultrasound and biopsy.

The findings of the study showed that Breastlight has detected 12 out of 18 confirmed malignant tumours (sensitivity of 67%), correctly identified as negative 240 out of 282 breasts (specificity of 85%) and also detected malignant tumours as small as 7mm.

Breastlight has also been evaluated at-home in a User Study involving over 1,200 women. Results showed that Breastlight encourages breast examination at recommended frequency levels, and it gives women confidence in their examination in which 80% of women said that they felt more confident when using Breastlight in addition to their existing routine methods.

Matei Dordea, specialist registrar at Sunderland City Hospital, said: “We were impressed with the sensitivity and specificity of the Breastlight device. Mammography sensitivity falls between 60% and 90% and specificity falls between 75% and 95%. Breastlight’s sensitivity was 67% with specificity at 85%. We are not saying that Breastlight could replace mammography but it can reliably pick up abnormal lumps which can be investigated to assess whether benign or malignant.

“Women who have confirmed recurrent cysts find it difficult to palpate. As benign cysts tend not to have a blood supply, they will not show up with Breastlight. However, if women feel new cysts they should always seek medical advice.”