Breast cancer charity urges Boots to pull product

A Scottish breast cancer charity has called on the retailer Boots to stop stocking a device which claims to help women detect breast abnormalities.

A Scottish breast cancer charity has called on the retailer Boots to stop stocking a device which claims to help women detect breast abnormalities.

Dumbarton-based company PWB Health, which produces Breastlight, said it shines a light through the tissue, giving an ‘internal’ view of breasts claiming to help detect the early signs of breast cancer.

PWB Health was last year awarded a £165,000 grant from the Scottish government to develop the hand-held device.  Announcing the grant, Finance Secretary John Swinney described Breastlight as a ‘pioneering’ product which had potential health benefits for millions of women.

But the Scottish Breast Cancer Campaign has written to Boots to say the product could cause women ‘needless anxiety’.

On its website PWB said the torch-like product can be used for ‘earlier detection’ and said it highlights any “dark clusters” which could be a cancerous lump undetectable by self-examination.

However, the Scottish Breast Cancer Campaign told Boots it was ‘completely unconvinced about the efficacy’ of the device.

It said: ‘We concluded that not only was it non-user friendly but that it could cause unnecessary distress if the ‘shadows’ were misinterpreted by a woman, who would then have to wait for an appointment with a doctor to have her fears allayed.’

‘Thus the product could create needless anxiety.’

The charity said there was also a danger of women using the product instead of self-examination, and called on Boots to reconsider stocking it.


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