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Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and caused 460,000 deaths in 2008 according to World Health Organization.1 In Singapore, about 1300 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, causing an average death of 313 every year, and making breast cancer the number one cause of death of women in Singapore.2 Detection of breast cancer at an early stage is extremely important in determining the effectiveness of consequent treatment and the survival rate of the patient. However, early-stage tumor detection is challenging due to the inefficacy of existing commercial imaging modalities. Although mammography is currently the golden standard imaging method, it still suffers from some limitations, such as low sensitivity for dense-breast screening, low specificity to differentiate malignant and benign tumors, low-dose ionization, and discomfort during the screening process. Other alternative imaging modalities such as ultrasound imaging and MRI have much lower contrast, especially for early-stage tumor detection. High cost, bulky size, and safety issues also prevent x-ray imaging and MRI from on-site diagnosis in homecare and routine screening.
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