Breast Cancer Scanner

In the early 1980s the communist regime in Romania “managed” to bring the whole country on the edge of famine by introducing a food quota for each person. Moreover, along with drastic budget reductions for all public sectors, the public health care system deteriorated most drastically. Cancer incidents, especially breast cancer, reached peak levels in the whole recorded Romanian medical history. Lack of medication and specialized diagnosis and treatment equipment lead to thousands of deaths already. Clearly staying aside has not been ever our attribute so we asked ourselves the question: how can we tell as early as possible that a woman has the first symptoms of breast cancer? Earlier the detection made higher the chances of survival seemed to be with proper treatment. So for months and months in a row, we talked to patients, doctors and scientists.

One of the latest research in the cancer detection showed an interesting fact: the skin tissue in the cancerous region had the tendency to be warmer compared to the rest of the body. This was because of the white cells in their attempt to fight the cancer cells produced as secondary result heat. There it was! We had the sign, now we ought to translate this into a medical equipment capable of processing it. Keep in mind that there were no powerful computers available back then as we know them these days, so we improvised a lot: an XY 2-axis scanner powered by two steppers, a monochrome display translating visually lighter/darker gray squares for each centimeter of scanned body surface, motors controller build completely from scratch and so on. 16 months of pure research and development until the first clinical non-invasive trials. Starting 1986 until 1989 more than 5000 women were successfully scanned. 139 were detected in very early stages and treated successfully. Only 7 patients didn’t make it in the end unfortunately as a result of way too late scanning procedure applied. A revolutionary device back then that save so many lives.

Trip date
Bayerische Alpen