A cancer detection patch is used for aid in early detection of
breast cancer by a method which involves scanning mirror image quadrants
of the breast to determine the temperature thereof. The patch comprises
a flexible, heat-conductive web; an array of spaced-apart temperature
indicators comprising a dye, or a pigment, and a temperature-sensitive
substance having a relatively precise melting point approximately
0.5.degree. F. different from the melting point of the temperature-sensitive
substance in the adjacent indicator, wherein each of said indicators
displays a change in color upon melting of the temperature-sensitive
substance therein; a transparent layer overlying said heat-conductive
web and sealed thereto; a backing web made of a flexible, compressible
material secured to the other side of the heat-conductive web and
a peelable layer adhesively secured to said backing web. Mirror
image quadrants of the breast are scanned by placing a patch in
each of the breast-receiving cups of the brassiere, in conformable,
contiguous contact with the breast skin, removing both patches after
several minutes and comparing the temperature in mirror image quadrants
of the breast by visual observation of the temperature indicators
in each quadrant patch.
What is claimed is:
1. A method of early detection of abnormalities in the body by
comparison of the skin temperature of an area on one side of the
body with that of a corresponding area on the other side, which
comprises applying to the said areas two temperature sensors, each
having temperature indicators which melt at predetermined temperatures
to display a change in appearance, the indicators in each sensor
being arranged in a pattern to form an array substantially covering
the area of skin of temperature to be sensed, the patterns of the
indicators of the arrays being comparable and the several indicators
in one array having melting temperatures different from each other
but identical with comparable indicators in the other array to facilitate
temperature comparison of the two areas, and bringing the indicators
into conforming contiguous contact with said area by pressing the
indicators thereagainst by applying pressure thereto through a backing
comprising a substantial thickness of a flexible compressible material.
2. A method of early detection of breast cancer by comparison of
the skin temperature of an area of one breast with that of a corresponding
mirror image area of the other breast, which comprises superimposing
on each of the two areas a temperature sensor having temperature
indicators which melt at predetermined temperatures to display a
change in appearance, the indicators in each sensor being arranged
in a pattern to form an array substantially covering the area of
skin of temperature to be sensed, the patterns of the indicators
of the arrays being comparable and the several indicators in one
array having melting temperatures different from each other but
identical with comparable indicators in the mirror image array of
the other sensor to facilitate temperature comparison of the two
areas, and bringing the indicators into conforming contiguous contact
with said areas by pressing the indicators thereagainst by applying
pressure thereto through a backing comprising a substantial thickness
of a flexible compressible material.
FIELD OF INVENTION
This invention relates to a method for the early detection of malignant
mammary tumors and is particularly related to a method of visual
detection of breast cancer using a cancer detection patch incorporated
into the breast-receiving cups of a brassiere.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
Several techniques are currently employed for the detection of
malignant tumors in the breast in order to determine if a woman's
breast has been afflicted with cancer. As discussed in U.S. Pat.
No. 3,847,139, issued on Nov. 12, 1974 to Eric Flam, thermography
is, at the present, the technique which is most widely used in medical
diagnostics for the detection of breast cancer. Other procedures
include physical examination, mammography and xerography.
Physical examination involves probing for lumps or masses in the
breast and may be carried out by a physician or the woman herself.
The disadvantage of this procedure is that lumps which are large
enough to be detected by probing or palpation have often spread
far enough to other areas, thus reducing the efficacy of any treatment
of the cancerous breast.
Both mammography and xerogrpahy involve X-ray examinations by an
experienced technician or radiologist. The procedure is time consuming,
expensive for the patient and often subjects the patient to repeated
radiation dosages which could result in cumulative carcinogenic
Thermography is based on infra-red scanning of the surface of the
breast and developing a thermogram which contains temperature information
corresponding to the scanned surface. Since the temperature of malignant
mammary tissues are usually higher than the temperature of normal
tissues, the thermogram affords a means by which the presence of
localized hot spots can be detected. This technique, however, also
involves the use of expensive equipment and expert technicians or
radiologists to analyze and interpret the thermogram.
None of the aforementioned techniques lends itself to rapid or
simple procedure for early detection of breast cancer and all of
them require the patient to visit a physician, a hospital or a clinical
center. Frequently, by the time the patient visits the physician
or the hospital, the cancerous tissues have spread irreversibly
and the chance of survival may have considerably diminished.
The aforementioned patent of Flam discloses a device which is intended
to aid in early detection of breast cancer. The device disclosed
by Flam comprises a structure including a substrate of stretchable,
conformable material carrying a temperature responsive coating viewable
against the background of the substrate. The temperature responsive
coating is a liquid crystal system which reflects the components
of incident light. When the device disclosed by Flam is worn by
the woman as illustrated in FIG. 1 thereof, the temperature variations
over the breast are transferred to the liquid crystal and a thermal
pattern of color variations is developed which can be observed by
a physician or the woman herself, and may be photographed. A single
liquid crystal system with a wide temperature range, corresponding
to the skin temperature of the breast of from about 85.degree. F.
to 95.degree. F., is used as the temperature responsive coating,
or a pair of liquid crystal systems can be used; one liquid crystal
system covering the range of from about 85.degree. F. to about 90.degree.
F., while the other liquid crystal system covers the range of from
about 90.degree. F. to about 95.degree. F.
Another temperature-responsive device for detecting the presence
of breast cancer is described by James et al in their U.S. Pat.
No. 3,960,138, isssued on June 1, 1976. This device is retained
in thermal contact with each breast by means of a brassiere, which
also contains a differential temperature integrator circuit, whereby
the difference in mean temperature between the two breasts may be
integrated over a period of time.
A temperature-sensing patch is described in another patent (U.S.
Pat. No. 3,661,142), granted to Erich Flam on May 9, 1972. The temperature-sensing
patch disclosed in this patent comprises a flexible backing web
having a pressure-sensitive adhesive coated on one side and a plurality
of discrete temperature-sensitive indicators on the other side.
Each indicator comprises a layer of encapsulated cholesteric liquid
crystals, which contain cholesteric esters such as cholesteryl pelargonate
(nonanate), cholesteryl chloride, oleyl cholesteryl carbonate, etc.,
which have the property of changing color with changes in temperature.
For further discussion of the various methods of detecting breast
cancer see the article by Gershen-Cohen et al entitled "Modalities
In Breast Cancer Detection Xerography, Mammography, Thermography,
And Mammometry", in Cancer, December, 1969, pp. 1226-1230;
see also "Advances In Thermography and Mammography", by
Gershen-Cohen et al, Annals New York Academy of Sciences (1964),
pp. 283-300 and "Relative Densiometric Analysis of Thermograms",
by Brueschke et al., Annals New York Academy of Sciences (1964),
Notwithstanding the plethora of publications and diligent scientific
research in breast cancer detection technology, xerography, mammography
and thermography remain today as the principal methods which are
available for the detection of breast cancer. As it was previously
mentioned, however, all of these methods have inherent disadvantages
and limitations and, in addition, they are not adapted for quick,
initial mass screening which frequently proves to be a matter of
life or death for persons at early stages of affliction with this
In my copending application Ser. No. 908,154 filed May 22, 1978,
now U.S. Pat. No. 4,190,058, granted Feb. 26, 1980, I have described
a cancer detection patch for aid in early detection of breast cancer.
The device disclosed in my aforesaid copending application is used
by incorporating it into the breast-receiving cups of the brassiere,
in contact with the breasts, and after few minutes, the device is
visually examined and mirror image quadrants are compared to determine
possible abnormality of the mammary tissues which warrants consultation
with a physician and perhaps a more detailed examination to confirm
presence or absence of cancer.
In order to obtain a more accurate indication of the breast temperature,
I now provide the cancer detection patch described in my aforesaid
application with a flexible conformable backing which when inserted
into the breast-receiving cup of the brassiere, provides additional
padding which insures a more intimate and conformable contact between
the breast skin and the indicator surface of my cancer detection
It is an object of this invention to provide a method for eary
detection of breast cancer using a unique cancer detection patch,
which method assures intimate contact between the breast skin and
the temperature sensing surface of the patch for more accurate determination
of possible abnormality in the mammary tissues.
The foregoing and other objects of this invention will be more
clearly comprehended from the following detailed description of
the invention and the accompanying drawings.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
In accordance with this invention, a cancer detection patch and
a method are provided for air in early detection of breast cancer.
The patch, which is adapted for both home and institutional use
comprises a heat-conductive web carrying on one surface an array
of spaced-apart temperature indicators comprising a dye, or a pigment,
and a temperature-sensitive substance having a relatively precise
melting point approximately 0.5.degree. F. different from the melting
point of the temperature-sensitive substance in the adjacent indicator,
wherein each of said indicators displays a change in color upon
melting of the temperature-sensitive substance therein; a transparent
layer overlying said heat-conductive web and sealed thereto; a backing
web made of a flexible, compressible material secured to the other
side of said heat-conductive web and a pealable layer adhesively
secured to said backing web.
The method comprises placing a patch in each of the breast-receiving
cups of the brassiere such that the temperature indicator-bearing
surface of the patch is tightly pressed against the breast skin,
in conformable, contiguous contact therewith. After several minutes
(usually 5 to 15 minutes) the patches are removed and the temperature
in mirror image quadrants of the breast are compared by visual observations
of the temperature indicators of the respective quadrant patch.
A higher temperature in one breast may be indicative of existence
of abnormality and possible cancer, requiring a followup complete
examination by a physician.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a plan view of the cancer detection patch used in the
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a quadrant of the cancer detection patch
shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 3--3 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 3 but illustrating a
different embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 5 is a side view illustrating the use of the cancer detection
patch and its backing web in the breast-receiving cup of a brassiere.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION
It is well known that the average difference in surface temperature
of the breasts is larger for persons with malignant tumors in one
breast than those having normal (non-maligant) breasts. Moreover,
the temperature difference in malignant mammary tumors is usually
more than 1.degree. C. (1.8.degree. F.), and is invariably more
than 0.6.degree. C. (1.08.degree. F.). Also, while the temperature
of a normal breast tends to fluctuate, the temperature of a malignant
breast remains relatively constant, and at a higher temperature
than the temperature of the normal breast.
This invention is predicated upon the discovery that such differences
in temperature between malignant and non-malignant breasts can be
detected--and visually displayed--by means of a novel and unique
device which is characterized by its simplicity and reliability
for aiding in early detection of breast cancer. Simplicity of its
use makes the device of this invention readily adaptable for mass
screening and affords a rapid means whereby a person can determine
if she (or he) is afflicted with breast cancer before undergoing
a more comprehensive examination by a physician by means of xerography,
thermography or mammography.
Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals are
employed to designate like parts, the device is shown in FIG. 1
in the form of a disc-shaped patch 101 comprising a flexible, conformabe
heat-conductive material 103 which may conveniently and preferably
be an aluminum foil having a thickness of from about 1 to about
3 mls. The disc-shaped patch 101 may be made in various convenient
sizes ranging from about 5 inches to about 7 inches in diameter
for insertion into the breast-receiving cups of a brassiere as will
hereinafter be described. The patch 101 usually consists of four
generally pie-shaped segments 101a, 101b, 101c and 101d which are
essentially identical in sizes and configurations, and which, for
convenience, will be referred to as quadrants, with each quadrant
comprising an array of radially disposed, spaced apart indicators
105 in the form of strips, dots, etc. Eighteen indicators are shown
in each quadrant, with each indicator adapted to display a visual
change in color corresponding to a predetermined temperature.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the indicators
are identified by a plurality of adjacent indicia ranging from 1
to 18, corresponding to the temperature range of 89.degree. to 97.5.degree.
F., in 0.5.degree. F. gradations, as follows:
______________________________________ Indicator No. Corresponding
Temperature, .degree.F. ______________________________________ 1
89 2 89.5 3 90 4 90.5 5 91 6 91.5 7 92 8 92.5 9 93 10 93.5 11 94
12 94.5 13 95 14 95.5 15 96 16 96.5 17 97 18 97.5 ______________________________________
The number of indicators as well as the temperature range and temperature
gradations may vary, however, for breast cancer detection, and using
the device illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, eighteen indicators per
quadrant covering the aforementioned temperature range, in 0.5.degree.
F. gradations, are quite satisfactory.
The indicators 105 are formed as follows: Specially manufactured
paper available from the National Cash Register, Dayton, Ohio, is
precut into as many strips as are needed for each patch. For the
embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, eighteen such indicator strips
are shown in each quadrant. The length and width of the indicator
strips are not, per se, critical and usually, they are pecut to
suitable dimensions so that eighteen such indicator strips may be
spaced apart radially, in each quadrant of the patch.
The specially treated indicator paper which comprises a dye or
a pigment, or any other indicator paper which may be treated with
a suitable dye or pigment, is then treated (e.g., impregnated) with
a thermally-responsive, temperature-sensitive substance which melts
at a relatively precise temperature ranging from 89.degree. F. to
97.5.degree. F. A host of chemical compounds naturally suggest themselves
for this application and are available from a variety of sources.
It is important to note, however, that in the practice of this invention,
each indicator strip comprises a substance or chemical which not
only melts at one of the aforesaid temperature range, but its melting
point must be approximately 0.5.degree. F. different from the melting
point of the chemical in the next indicator. Thus, the indicator
strip corresponding to the numeral 1 comprises a chemical which
melts at 89.0.degree. F., the indicator corresponding to the numeral
2 comprises a chemical which melts at 89.5.degree. F. and so on,
until the indicator which is designated by the numeral 20 which
comprises a substance which melts at 97.5.degree. F.
The chemicals employed in the practice of this invention are preferably
crystalline organic chemicals with relatively precise and sharp
melting points at the aforementioned temperature range which do
not recrystallize upon standing at ambient temperatures (room temperature).
The indicator strips 105, after treatment and impregnation with
a dye or a pigment and a temperature-sensitive substance as aforesaid,
are printed, embossed or otherwise suitably arrayed on the patch
101 as previously described and the patch is then covered with a
flexible, transparent plastic layer 107 such as Mylar, nylon or
Surlyn, etc., and heat sealed.
In order to insure intimate contact with the skin, and hence a
more precise determination of the temperature of the breast, the
patch 101 is adhesively secured to a backing web 109 made of suitable
flexible plastic having a sufficient thickness to impart structural
integrity to the patch. The backing web 109 is preferably made of
a compressible plastic foam made of polyester, nylon fiber mesh,
and the like, and is generally 1/2 to 1 inch thick and typically
is 3/4 inch thick. Accordingly, it constitutes an integral part
of the cancer detection patch although it may be used separately
in conjunction therewith to insure that the indicator-bearing surface
of the patch is in intimate contact with the breast skin along its
contours. Since the shapes and sizes of breasts vary considerably
in different persons, the backing web insures that when the cancer
detection patch is placed in the breast-receiving cup of a brassiere,
there are no gaps or air pockets between the breast skin and the
indicator-bearing surface of the patch which could interfere with
accurate temperature determination.
Referring once again to FIG. 3, the underside of the backing web
109 is provided with an adhesive layer 111 for adhesively securing
a pealable release layer 113.
In use, and as is shown in FIG. 5, the release paper 111 is first
removed and the patch is inserted into each breast-receiving cup
115 of the brassiere such that adhesive layer 111 is secured to
the inside surface of the cup 115 and the indicator-bearing surface
103 is in intimate, contiguous and conformable contact with the
breast surface. Since the backing web 109 is a flexible, compressible
material, intimate contact is assured between the indicator-bearing
surface of the patch and the breast skin thereby assuring a reliable
temperature determination. The use of the cancer detection patch
in accordance with this invention permits mirror image sections
of breast quadrants to be scanned. After a few minutes, the patch
is removed from the brassiere and each patch is visually examined
by comparing the number of indicator strips in mirror image quadrants
which have displayed a change in color due to melting of the temperature
sensitive chemicals used therein. The change in color is either
from white to blue or vice-versa depending on the chemicals and
dyes or pigments which are employed, although the exact color may
be different for other chemicals-dyes or pigments combinations.
Since this test is relatively simple to perform and does not require
any expertise or complicated equipment, it may be repeated two or
three times to confirm the initial observations.
Numerous advantages become immediately apparent from the foregoing
description of the invention. The test may be performed at home
and as frequently as desired without visiting a physician or a clinical
While the invention has heretofore been described with a certain
degree of particularity, naturally, some changes and modifications
may be made therein which are nevertheless within the scope of this
invention. For example, and instead of using chemically-impregnated
indicator papers comprising a dye or a pigment, the chemical and
the dye may be pre-mixed and then deposited as an array of spaced-apart
radially disposed indicators much in the form of indicator strips
105 as shown in FIG. 1. The mixture of chemical and the dye (or
pigment) is thus imprinted on the disc-shaped patch 101 such that
a sectional view thereof is as illustrated in FIG. 4.
Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown the aluminum foil 103a
which may be slightly indented as in 117, shown in exaggerated dimensions.
As in the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the aluminum foil 103a is
adhesively secured to a backing web 109a as in FIG. 3 and an undesired
adhesive layer 111a for adhesively securing a pealable release layer
The temperature sensitive material H (a mixture of chemical and
a dye or a pigment) is deposited in the indented area 117 and a
transparent plastic layer 107a, e.g., Mylar, nylon, or Surlyn overlies
the top surfaces of the aluminum foil and is heat sealed thereto.
In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, when the disc-shaped patch is
used to scan the surface of the breast as hereinbefore described,
all chemicals melt at their respective melting points thus displaying
a visible change in color. The number of indicators which have displayed
a change in color are compared mirror image quadrants of the two
breast as previously described in order to determine if there is
any abnormality in the mammary tissues.
Also, while the device is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 in the form of
a disc-shaped member and a pie-shaped segment, respectively, these
configurations may vary somewhat without changing the underlying
inventive concept. Additionally, more or less than four quadrants
or segments may be used to scan each breast so long as mirror image
segments of the breasts are compared as aforesaid. However, and
as a matter of convenience, the device shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is
more practical since it may be sized to conformably cover the breast
Other embodiments suggest themselves from the foregoing detailed
description which are nevertheless within the scope and spirit of