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SPIE supports breast cancer research in the lab and in the gallery

BELLINGHAM, WA, USA - 22 October 2008 - SPIE is active in supporting breast cancer research, through support of a local art show marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month and through advancing breakthrough research in technical forms around the world and in its publications.

SPIE, a not-for-profit optics and photonics society headquartered in Bellingham, is among contributors supporting the annual "Reaching for the Light" breast cancer awareness exhibit at Blue Horse Gallery. Works by local and regional artists are on display in the Bellingham gallery through 31 October. The society also supports staff volunteers who participate in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life fundraiser each July.

Hundreds of research papers on breast cancer detection are presented each year at SPIE's Photonics West and Medical Imaging conferences and at the biennial European Conferences of Biomedical Optics co-sponsored by SPIE and the Optical Society of America.

SPIE leadership are among those active in breast cancer detection and treatment research.

Katarina Svanberg, chief physician of oncology at Lund University Hospital in Sweden and 2009 SPIE Vice President, works with spectroscopic and optical techniques for early tumor detection of malignancies and in photodynamic tumor therapy.

Bruce Tromberg, director of the Beckman Laser Institute at University of California, Irvine, and Editor of SPIE's Journal of Biomedical Optics, oversees research funded by the National Cancer Institute for development of laser-based diffuse optical imaging for detection and analysis of tumors, and of laser imaging devices that complement conventional tumor detection methods such as mammography and MRI.

In addition to conference proceedings papers and journal articles on the topic published in the SPIE Digital Library, articles written by researchers also are published in the  SPIE Newsroom.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that around 180,500 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United States last year. It is expected that approximately 41,000 of those people will die from the disease. Early detection is considered to be a key factor in survival. Since the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.