The Future of Breast Cancer

What will shield you from this dread disease? A recent spate of scientific discoveries—from genetic typing to microscopic devices that attack at the cellular level—is giving researchers, doctors and patients reason to hope that a cure is within reach.

By Tara Parker-Pope

Just as a colonoscopy can now detect and remove polyps before they become cancerous, researchers are working to develop methods that will allow them to seek out and destroy precancerous breast changes. Already, researchers at Sloan-Kettering are studying the use of focused ultrasound to eradicate precancerous breast lesions. Unlike the ultrasound used to scan for irregularities, this technology uses focused, high-energy sound beams to destroy suspicious cells, leaving healthy tissue untouched. "It’s like a Flash Gordon ray gun," says Norton. "It’s possible that we’ll find tiny lesions, diagnose them and destroy them so they never grow into cancers."

Originally published in More magazine, October 2005.

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