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Proceedings Paper

Toward understanding the complex mechanisms behind breast thermography: an overview for comprehensive numerical study
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Paper Abstract

The abnormal thermogram has been shown to be a reliable indicator of a high risk of breast cancer. Nevertheless, a major weakness of current infrared breast thermography is its poor sensitivity for deeper tumors. Numerical modeling for breast thermography provides an effective tool to investigate the complex relationships between the breast thermal behaviors and the underlying patho-physiological conditions. We have developed a set of new modeling techniques to take into account some subtle factors usually ignored in previous studies, such as gravity-induced elastic deformations of the breast, nonlinear elasticity of soft tissues, and dynamic behavior of thermograms. Conventional "forward problem" modeling cannot be used directly to improve tumor detectability, however, because the underlying tissue thermal properties are generally unknown. Therefore, we propose an "inverse problem" modeling technique that aims to estimate the tissue thermal properties from the breast surface thermogram. Our data suggest that the estimation of the tumor-induced thermal contrast can be improved significantly by using the proposed inverse problem solving techniques to provide the individual-specific thermal background, especially for deeper tumors. We expect the proposed new methods, taken together, to provide a stronger foundation for, and greater specificity and precision in, thermographic diagnosis, and treatment, of breast cancer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 March 2011
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7965, Medical Imaging 2011: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging, 79650H (9 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.877839
Show Author Affiliations
Li Jiang, The George Washington Univ. (United States)
Wang Zhan, Univ. of California, San Francisco (United States)
Murray H. Loew, The George Washington Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7965:
Medical Imaging 2011: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging
John B. Weaver; Robert C. Molthen, Editor(s)

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