According to global statistics, there is a high incidence of cancer in western countries; and, due to the limited resources available in most health care systems, it seems like one of the most feasible options to fight against cancer might be strict prevention policies—such as eliminating carcinogens in people’s daily lives. Nevertheless, early cancer detection and effective treatment are still necessary, and understanding their efficacy and limitations are important issues that need to be addressed in order to ultimately enhance patients’ survival rate. In the case of breast cancer, some of the problems faced by conventional mammography have been addressed in the literature; they include high rate of false-positive and false-negative results, as well as the possibility of overdiagnosis. New technologies, such as digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), have been able to improve the sensitivity and specificity by using 3D imaging. However, the low contrast (1%) existing between tumors and healthy fibroglandular tissue at X-ray frequencies has been identified as one of the main causes of misdiagnosis in both conventional 2D mammography and DBT. Near-field radar imaging (NRI) provides a unique opportunity to overcome this problem, since the contrast existing between the aforementioned tissues is intrinsically higher (10%) at microwave frequencies. Moreover, the low resolution and highly complex scattering patterns of microwave systems can be enhanced by using prior information from other modalities, such as the DBT. Therefore, a multimodal DBT/NRI imaging system is proposed to exploit their individual strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. In this work, the foundation of this idea is reviewed, and a preliminary design and experimental validation of the NRI system, used as a DBT complement, is introduced.
Part of the book: Breast Imaging