Development of anatomically and dielectrically accurate breast phantoms for microwave imaging applications

M. O'Halloran, S. Lohfeld, G. Ruvio, J. Browne, F. Krewer, C. O. Ribeiro, V. C. Inacio Pita, R. C. Conceicao, E. Jones, M. Glavin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. In the United States alone, it accounts for 31% of new cancer cases, and is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of deaths in American women. More than 184,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year resulting in approximately 41,000 deaths. Early detection and intervention is one of the most significant factors in improving the survival rates and quality of life experienced by breast cancer sufferers, since this is the time when treatment is most effective. One of the most promising breast imaging modalities is microwave imaging. The physical basis of active microwave imaging is the dielectric contrast between normal and malignant breast tissue that exists at microwave frequencies. The dielectric contrast is mainly due to the increased water content present in the cancerous tissue. Microwave imaging is non-ionizing, does not require breast compression, is less invasive than X-ray mammography, and is potentially low cost. While several prototype microwave breast imaging systems are currently in various stages of development, the design and fabrication of anatomically and dielectrically representative breast phantoms to evaluate these systems is often problematic. While some existing phantoms are composed of dielectrically representative materials, they rarely accurately represent the shape and size of a typical breast. Conversely, several phantoms have been developed to accurately model the shape of the human breast, but have inappropriate dielectric properties. This study will brie y review existing phantoms before describing the development of a more accurate and practical breast phantom for the evaluation of microwave breast imaging systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRadar Sensor Technology XVIII
ISBN (Print)9781628410143
StatePublished - 2014
EventRadar Sensor Technology XVIII - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: May 5 2014May 7 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceRadar Sensor Technology XVIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD


  • Breast Cancer Detection
  • Microwave Imaging
  • Phantoms
  • Radar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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