Skip to main content


Wednesday 25 Sep 2019[Seminar] Using astrophysics to improve breast cancer detection

Laura Moran - University of Exeter

4th floor, Physics building 14:00-15:00

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, with over 50,000 women diagnosed every year in the UK alone. The gold standard for breast cancer diagnosis is currently a biopsy followed by histopathology, which is often insufficient for early diagnosis, and unpleasant for the patient.

Raman spectroscopy has been shown to be useful for label-free identification of molecules in tissue. Deep Raman techniques can be exploited to detect calcifications that are present in breast tissue. Different calcifications are present in different pathological types of breast tissue. Therefore, by determining which type of calcification is present, there is potential for a minimally invasive method of detecting breast cancer.

Tissue is a highly scattering medium which poses a problem for recovery of a Raman signal at depth in breast tissue, which is what this method would require. Tissue phantoms of intralipid and India ink, or chicken breasts and pork chops, are often used to imitate the optical environment when carrying out experiments. A greater understanding of the light transport processes can be gained by using the Monte Carlo method to randomly sample the volume and obtain probabilistic information about the system. This will allow a variety of probe designs to be investigated and an optimum geometry between the laser and the detector to be developed. The code that we have developed is derived from an astrophysical code; it has been adapted for biological systems with complex morphologies and optically thick media.

Add to calendar

Add to calendar (.ics)