NUI Galway PhD student Bárbara Oliveira presents her idea for a more effective and equitable breast cancer screening system at Researchfest 2017.

Science Week

Bárbara Oliveira is an engineering PhD student at NUI Galway who is working on a system that will provide early access to regular, low-cost and pain-free breast cancer screening, and diagnosis for all women around the world, no matter where they are. Why? Because one of the biggest factors influencing breast cancer survival rates is location. Women in urban areas in developed countries can see up to 90pc survival rates, but this drops to 57pc for those in rural developing regions.

The bigger question is how and, to answer that, Oliveira is working on a new method of breast imaging based on radar waves – a safe, well-established, widely available and pain-free technology. She is combining this new imaging method with machine intelligence, using algorithms to learn from breast scans to better detect and diagnose cancer.

Words by Elaine Burke