Each year breast cancer claims the lives of 465,000 women around the world — however this scourge can often be defeated if detected early. To aid in the fight against breast cancer Professor Zhipeng Wu of the University of Manchester has developed a portable breast scanner the size of a lunchbox that can detect and highlight cancer in real-time using much less radiation than x-rays.

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Wu’s breast scanner identifies trouble spots using radio waves and projects findings on a local computer screen. Unlike traditional x-ray mammography equipment, Wu’s device can provide real-time diagnoses – meaning it could potentially capture cancerous issues that a traditional unit would fail to see. The scanner also forgoes the use of heavy radiation and allows doctors to quickly diagnose patients as opposed to subjecting a woman to a series of mammograms to try to determine the source of problems.

In addition to being completely portable, the machine does not require any gels or add-on equipment. All a woman need to do is place her breast in the cup, which will then be filled with liquid (this can be any available liquid, including water) to fill any gaps (read: size doesn’t matter) to complete the scan.

The device was unveiled just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it also bodes well for developing countries where facilities catering to these issues are few and far between — or may not even exist.

Via Dvice