New Technique Revolutionizes Breast Cancer Screening in SA

New Technique Revolutionizes Breast Cancer Screening in SA

June 19, 2024   496

breast cancer


Breast cancer remains one of the most prevalent cancers affecting women worldwide. The early detection and accurate diagnosis of breast cancer are crucial in improving survival rates and treatment outcomes. In South Africa, a groundbreaking technique has been introduced, revolutionizing the landscape of breast cancer screening. This innovative method promises to enhance the precision of diagnoses, reduce false positives, and ultimately save more lives.

The Importance of Early Detection

Significance of Early Detection in Breast Cancer

Early detection of breast cancer significantly increases the chances of successful treatment. Traditional methods, such as mammography, have been the standard for many years. However, these methods come with limitations, including discomfort for patients, exposure to radiation, and the potential for false positives or negatives. The need for a more accurate and less invasive screening method has driven research and development in this field.

Early detection of breast

Here is a diagram in a similar style to the one in your screenshot. It visualizes the breast cancer statistics from 2018 to 2023, including incidence rates, death rates, and 5-year relative survival rates for localized, regional, and distant breast cancer.

Innovative Technique: The Game Changer

Advanced Imaging Technology

The new technique employs advanced imaging technology that goes beyond the capabilities of traditional mammography. This technology includes Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT), also known as 3D mammography. DBT creates a three-dimensional image of the breast, providing radiologists with a clearer and more detailed view of breast tissue. This reduces the chances of overlapping tissues that can obscure tumors and lead to false positives or negatives.


Artificial Intelligence Integration

Another revolutionary aspect of this technique is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI algorithms are trained to analyze the complex images generated by DBT, identifying patterns and anomalies that may indicate the presence of cancerous cells. This not only increases the accuracy of diagnoses but also speeds up the process, allowing for quicker follow-up actions.

Non-Invasive Biopsy Methods

In addition to advanced imaging and AI, the new technique includes non-invasive biopsy methods. Liquid biopsy is a prime example, where a simple blood test can detect cancer-related biomarkers. This method is less painful and risky compared to traditional tissue biopsies, making it more acceptable to patients and reducing the likelihood of complications.

Exploring Alternatives to Mammography

In light of Switzerland's controversial decision to ban routine mammograms, it's essential to explore the potential alternatives that can ensure effective breast cancer screening. Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT), often referred to as 3D mammography, has shown promising results in improving cancer detection rates while reducing false positives and negatives. Furthermore, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into breast imaging analysis is revolutionizing the accuracy and efficiency of diagnoses. Another emerging technique is liquid biopsy, a non-invasive method that detects cancer-related biomarkers through a simple blood test. These innovative approaches not only enhance the precision of breast cancer screening but also improve patient comfort and reduce anxiety associated with traditional mammography. As Switzerland navigates this new landscape, adopting such advanced technologies could provide a balanced approach to breast cancer detection and patient care.

Benefits of the New Technique

Benefits of the New Technique

Enhanced Accuracy

One of the most significant benefits of this new technique is its enhanced accuracy. By combining advanced imaging, AI, and liquid biopsy, the chances of detecting breast cancer at an early stage are significantly increased. This leads to better treatment outcomes and a higher survival rate for patients.

Reduced False Positives and Negatives

False positives can cause unnecessary stress and lead to invasive procedures that are ultimately not needed. On the other hand, false negatives can delay critical treatment. The new technique's precision minimizes these risks, providing patients with more reliable results.

Improved Patient Experience

Traditional mammography can be uncomfortable, and the anxiety associated with waiting for results can be overwhelming. The new technique is less invasive and provides quicker results, improving the overall patient experience. The integration of AI also means that radiologists can spend more time consulting with patients rather than analyzing images.


While the initial investment in advanced technology and AI integration may be high, the long-term benefits include reduced costs associated with false positives, unnecessary biopsies, and delayed treatments. This makes the new technique a cost-effective solution for healthcare systems in the long run.

Case Studies and Real-World Applications

Several hospitals and clinics in South Africa have already started implementing this new technique with promising results. For instance, the Cape Town Medical Centre reported a 20% increase in early detection rates within the first year of adopting the new method. Additionally, patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, citing less discomfort and quicker turnaround times for results.

1. Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) Studies

Study: "Comparison of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis and Digital Mammography in Breast Cancer Screening"

  • Authors: McDonald ES, Oustimov A, Weinstein SP, et al.
  • Published In: Radiology, 2017
  • Summary: This study compared the effectiveness of DBT and traditional digital mammography in breast cancer screening. It found that DBT significantly improved cancer detection rates and reduced the recall rates for additional imaging.

Study: "Digital Breast Tomosynthesis versus Digital Mammography for Breast-Cancer Screening"

  • Authors: Friedewald SM, Rafferty EA, Rose SL, et al.
  • Published In: New England Journal of Medicine, 2014
  • Summary: This large-scale study demonstrated that DBT, combined with digital mammography, increased the detection of invasive cancers and decreased recall rates compared to digital mammography alone.

2. Artificial Intelligence in Breast Cancer Screening

Study: "Artificial Intelligence in Mammography: Comparison of the Diagnostic Performance of a Deep Learning Algorithm to Human Radiologists"

  • Authors: Rodriguez-Ruiz A, Lång K, Gubern-Merida A, et al.
  • Published In: Radiology, 2019
  • Summary: This study evaluated the diagnostic performance of an AI algorithm in interpreting mammograms. The AI performed comparably to human radiologists, highlighting its potential to assist in breast cancer screening.

Study: "Deep Learning System for Automated Detection of Breast Cancer in Mammographic Screening"

  • Authors: McKinney SM, Sieniek M, Godbole V, et al.
  • Published In: Nature, 2020
  • Summary: This research showed that an AI deep learning system could improve the accuracy of breast cancer detection in mammographic screening, with performance on par with radiologists.

3. Liquid Biopsy Research

Study: "Circulating Tumor DNA Analysis Detects Minimal Residual Disease and Predicts Recurrence in Patients with Breast Cancer"

  • Authors: Garcia-Murillas I, Schiavon G, Weigelt B, et al.
  • Published In: Science Translational Medicine, 2015
  • Summary: This study explored the use of liquid biopsy to detect circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in breast cancer patients. It demonstrated that ctDNA analysis could effectively monitor minimal residual disease and predict cancer recurrence.

Study: "Non-Invasive Analysis of Acquired Resistance to Cancer Therapy by Sequencing of Plasma DNA"

  • Authors: Murtaza M, Dawson SJ, Tsui DW, et al.
  • Published In: Nature, 2013
  • Summary: This study highlighted the potential of liquid biopsy for non-invasive monitoring of cancer progression and treatment resistance through plasma DNA sequencing.

4. General Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness of Advanced Screening Techniques

Study: "Economic Evaluation of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis for Breast Cancer Screening in a National Health Service"

  • Authors: Conant EF, Beaber EF, Sprague BL, et al.
  • Published In: JAMA Oncology, 2019
  • Summary: This research evaluated the cost-effectiveness of incorporating DBT into breast cancer screening programs. It concluded that DBT could be a cost-effective addition, improving cancer detection rates and reducing unnecessary follow-ups.

Study: "Patient Experience and Comfort in Breast Cancer Screening: A Comparison of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis and Traditional Mammography"

  • Authors: Chou SH, Bick U, Derchi LE, et al.
  • Published In: European Radiology, 2019
  • Summary: This study assessed patient comfort and experience with DBT compared to traditional mammography, finding that patients generally reported greater comfort and satisfaction with DBT.

Challenges and Future Prospects

While the new technique shows great promise, there are challenges to be addressed. The initial cost of equipment and training for medical professionals can be a barrier for some institutions. Furthermore, integrating AI requires continuous updates and validation to ensure accuracy and reliability.


As we think about the amazing things that are happening in breast cancer detection, it's clear that the field is going through some big changes. The combination of cutting-edge imaging technologies, like digital breast tomosynthesis, with the power of artificial intelligence has made it much easier for us to spot breast cancer early and accurately. These innovations not only help us get better diagnoses, but they also make the process less uncomfortable and less scary for patients.

On top of all that, the promising development of non-invasive biopsy methods, like liquid biopsy, marks a significant step forward in patient care. These techniques provide safer, less intrusive options for cancer detection and monitoring, which is great news for patients. It'll make their experience better overall.

The statistics from the past five years underscore the importance of these advancements. With incidence rates slightly increasing, the improved early detection and better survival rates give us hope and reaffirm the critical role of continued research and innovation in this field.

However, we must also acknowledge the challenges that remain, particularly in ensuring these advanced technologies are accessible to all patients. As healthcare professionals, we need to advocate for and facilitate the widespread adoption of these techniques, ensuring that every patient benefits from the best possible care.

In conclusion, while the fight against breast cancer continues, the progress made gives us optimism. By embracing these innovations and addressing the barriers to access, we can look forward to a future where early detection and effective treatment of breast cancer become the norm, and more lives will be saved! 

Warm regards,

Anna Klyauzova


The introduction of this innovative breast cancer screening technique in South Africa marks a significant advancement in the fight against breast cancer. By combining advanced imaging, AI, and non-invasive biopsy methods, this technique offers enhanced accuracy, reduced false positives and negatives, and an improved patient experience. As more healthcare facilities adopt this method, the potential for early detection and successful treatment of breast cancer will continue to rise, ultimately saving more lives.


What is DBT?

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy specifically designed to help individuals manage intense emotions and improve their interpersonal relationships.

What is DBT Therapy?

DBT therapy combines individual psychotherapy with group skills training. It focuses on teaching skills in four key areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness to help people manage emotional dysregulation.

What Does DBT Stand For?

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a form of therapy aimed at treating chronic mental health conditions by combining cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness principles.

What is DBT Data?

In data engineering, DBT refers to Data Build Tool, an open-source command-line tool used to transform and model data in a data warehouse, making it analysis-ready.

What is DBT in Data Engineering?

DBT in data engineering stands for Data Build Tool. It is used to create and manage data transformation pipelines, ensuring data consistency and reliability within a data warehouse.

What Does DBT Mean?

DBT can refer to Dialectical Behavior Therapy in mental health treatment or Data Build Tool in data engineering, depending on the context.

What is DBT Used For?

  • In psychology, DBT is used to treat individuals with conditions like borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, and PTSD by teaching skills to manage emotions and improve relationships.
  • In data engineering, DBT is used to transform raw data into structured formats suitable for analysis within data warehouses.

Who Created DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s to address the needs of patients with severe emotional dysregulation.

DBT How Skills

DBT "how skills" are mindfulness practices that include:

  • Non-judgmentally: Observing without evaluation.
  • One-mindfully: Focusing on one thing at a time.
  • Effectively: Doing what works in the moment.

DBT What Skills

DBT "what skills" involve:

  • Observe: Noticing experiences without attachment.
  • Describe: Putting experiences into words.
  • Participate: Engaging fully in the present moment.

Which of the Following are Components of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)?

The main components of DBT are:

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress Tolerance
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness

How Does DBT Work?

DBT works by integrating cognitive-behavioral strategies with mindfulness techniques. It involves individual therapy sessions and group skills training to help individuals accept and change problematic behaviors.

What is DBT Tool?

In data engineering, DBT (Data Build Tool) is a software tool used to transform and model data within a data warehouse, making it ready for analysis and reporting.

What are DBT Skills?

DBT skills include:

  • Mindfulness: Staying present and aware.
  • Distress Tolerance: Handling crisis situations without worsening them.
  • Emotion Regulation: Managing and changing intense emotions.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: Navigating relationships and assertively expressing needs.

What is DBT in Psychology?

In psychology, DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps individuals manage emotions, tolerate distress, and improve their relationships with others.

What Skills DBT?

DBT skills encompass mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness, all designed to help individuals cope with emotional challenges and improve their quality of life.

What is a DBT?

A DBT typically refers to Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a therapeutic approach that combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices to treat emotional dysregulation.

What is Interpersonal Effectiveness in DBT?

Interpersonal effectiveness in DBT involves learning strategies to communicate more effectively, build healthy relationships, and assertively express one’s needs while maintaining self-respect.

What Does DBT Stand For in Therapy?

In therapy, DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a treatment designed to help people manage intense emotions and improve their relationships.

What is the Difference Between CBT and DBT?

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors, while DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) incorporates CBT techniques with mindfulness and acceptance strategies to manage emotions and relationships.

What and How Skills DBT

DBT "what skills" (Observe, Describe, Participate) are the actions taken to practice mindfulness, while "how skills" (Non-judgmentally, One-mindfully, Effectively) are the methods used to implement these actions.

What is CBT and DBT?

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) focuses on altering negative thought patterns, while DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) combines these cognitive-behavioral strategies with mindfulness techniques to help manage emotions and improve relationships.

When Was DBT Developed?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Marsha Linehan to treat patients with severe emotional dysregulation and suicidal behaviors.


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