Development of Analytical and Experimental Tools for Microwave Breast Imaging Research
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The incidence rate of breast cancer is the highest of any cancer among women in the United States, and its mortality rate is second only to lung cancer. It is well known that early detection is crucial to successful treatment of breast cancer. X-ray mammography has been the standard clinical tools for detecting and treating breast cancer for many years. However, the sensitivity and specificity of this method are significantly lower in women with extremely dense breasts, and it also involves breast compression and exposure to ionizing. Hence, there is a critical need of alternative nonionizing molecular imaging technologies that are capable of 3D tomographic breast imaging and suitable for low-cost cancer screening particularly in high-risk patients. Microwave imaging, which utilizes the dielectric contrast between malignant and normal breast tissues, has shown great potential to meet these needs in recent studies. My master?s project involves development of both analytical and experimental tools for microwave breast imaging research. In the analytical part, the potential of incorporating both dielectric and elastic contrasts for improving breast tumor detection is studied. This work resulted in a comment that is published in IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters. In the experimental part, a technique to fabricate 3D realistic breast phantom is successfully developed. The fabricated breast phantoms can be used for rigorous pre-clinical validation of microwave breast imaging systems. A manuscript based on this work has been submitted to a journal for peer-review. Hence, the main body of this report consists of the aforementioned two materials. The appendix includes the MATLAB codes used to generate the results in the IEEE AWPL comment.