Breast cancer is a problem faced by many women across the world. One in nine women will acquire breast cancer in their lifetime. Last year in Canada there was 19500 cases of breast cancer reported. An estimated 5400 women will die this year due to this disease. One of the best ways to prevent deaths due to breast cancer is to detect the tumors while they are still small, so that minimally invasive treatments can be applied.

There are several medical procedures that are used to detect breast tumors. Some of the procedures are: Mammography, Sontimammography, and ultrasonography.

Each of these methods has specific problems. Mammograms are painful, and are time consuming. X-rays have relatively poor resolution when trying to differentiate between soft tissue, and result in unwanted radiation exposure. Ultrasonographs use sound waves to detect tumors. This method has its benefits, but overall it is not accurate in detecting tumor cells (it has a hard time differentiating between cysts and tumors). Sontimammographs involve injecting a radioactive substance into the blood stream and taking pictures to illuminate any possible tumor cell. Although all of these technologies have their benefits, Dr. Fear is currently working on a new approach by using ultrahigh bandwidth microwaves to detect tumors in the breast. The method is called confocal microwave imaging.