Easier to diagnose breast cancer with microwave technology

May 26, 2014 | Research/Cooperation

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Over the past few decades, the chances of being cured have increased, in large part due to the fact that more cancers are discovered at an early stage and thanks to improved forms of treatment. Being able to arrive at a correct diagnosis is crucially important, and in this area of research Nikola Petrovic defends his doctoral thesis on microwave technology in a public defence on 28 May at MDH.

– The purpose of the thesis is to develop a measuring platform for microwave imaging including related tools, in other words create images of human tissue using microwaves, and later to create a clinical prototype for breast cancer detection which can be used in mammography screening, says Nikola Petrovic.

Today, X-ray screening is the standard method for mammography, but this method has limits related to the soft tissue of the body which is pictured as a grey mass. Even for people with experience, it is difficult to detect a possible tumour in such images. Microwave imaging, on the other hand, is a technology involving microwaves which are sent through the body and analysed in terms of the way they spread. On the basis of spread data, it is then possible to distinguish between healthy and diseased tissue, and further calculate what is going on in the test person’s body. Compared with healthy tissue, cancerous tissue is surrounded by more blood vessels which are made visible through microwave imaging. In this way, microwave screening can offer patients a more dependable diagnosis - and the earlier a cancer is discovered, the better are also the chances of being cured.

– In my thesis I have focused on different parts of an experimental system, developed at MDH, to be able to collect data and compare it with a computer model in order to screen breast objects and discover breast tumours. The main aim has been to examine various measuring techniques and sensors and how they can be developed and designed in the best possible manner. What is unique about the thesis is that it deals with research challenges in order to design and produce new sensors which can be placed on or close to the breast.

Nikola Petrovic comes from Serbia originally and moved to Sweden 22 years ago. In 2002 he started studying for a Master of Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering at MDH and then continued with third-cycle studies in Electronics with a specialisation in Biomedical Applications.

The future is promising for Nikola Petrovic as well as the research area in which he will defend his doctoral thesis.
– As a researcher I may travel and try working at universities abroad, but since my family is in Västerås, where I have spent most of my life and feel very much at home, my plan for the future is to apply for project funding and remain as a researcher at MDH, as well as to complete a clinical prototype for breast cancer detection, says Nikola Petrovic.

Welcome to learn more about Nikola Petrovic’s research results on 28 May at 10-12 in Paros at Mälardalen University in Västerås. More information about Nikola Petrovic’s public defence of his doctoral thesis.