Monday, November 15, 2010

Health Canada Recall Breastlight: Breast Cancer Signs & Detection

Nov 12, 2010 Tamara Laschinsky

Detecting breast cancer is done with mamograms - r MedicalInfrared with permission

Detecting breast cancer is done with mamograms - r MedicalInfrared with permission

November 12, 2010 – Health Canada issued a reacall for the device “Breastlight”. Breastlight is manufactured by PWB Health Ltd., and is asking pharmacies and distributors to immediately cease selling this product. 25 percent of women who have breast cancer will die from the disease. Prevention and early detection can help lower these numbers and improve success rates.

About the Breastlight and How it Detects Breast Cancer

The Breastlight was developed to shine light into the breast tissue, allowing women to perform a simple at-home test. The light was expected to show any dark mass of tissue that may indicate possible tumors and breast cancer.

However, Health Canada has come forth stating that there is no clinical evidence that this device works and fears many women have relied on this product for diagnosis. It can pose a very severe risk to women who may have breast cancer, as the Breastlight may not detect it and it will go untreated.

What Consumers Who Bought the Breastlight Should Do

Anyone who bought the Breastlight to diagnose themselves for possible breast cancer should immediately follow-up with their doctor. Breast cancer can be curable if detected early.

Consumers can also get more information on this recall by contact Health Canada’s public enquiry line at 1-866-225-0709 or 613-957-2991.

Symptoms and Signs of Possible Breast Cancer

  • A lump or thickening of the tissue on your breast
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Change in size or shape of breast
  • Changes in skin appearance; dimpling
  • Inverted nipples
  • Peeling or flaking of nipple skin
  • Redness or pitting of breast skin, similar to that of an orange

Contact your doctor for a medical diagnosis if you suspect you may have breast cancer. Breast exams are often performed as part of your annual exam. Women between the ages of 50 and 69 should have a mammogram once every two years, or more, depending on their risk factors.

Breast Cancer: Detection, Prevention and Risk Factors

In 1993, Health Canada reports that breast cancer cases leveled off and that one in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Early detection and prevention will help you avoid a negative outcome from breast cancer.

Risk Factors:

  • Being overweight, after menopause
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy
  • Exposure to x-rays
  • Having first baby after age 30, or not having children at all
  • Never breast-feeding
  • Having close relative with breast cancer
  • Gender
  • Age: risk increase as you get older
  • Early menstruation (before age 12) Late menopause (after age 55)

It is also important to note that some parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors. Parabens are common preservatives found in personal care products.

Further Reading: Chemicals to Avoid in Personal Care Products: Baby, Kids and Adults.

The Cause and Treatment for Cancer: The Need for Oxygen

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.


Health Canada. “Breastlight is Not Authorized for Use as a Screening Device for the Detection of Breast Cancer.” (accessed November 12, 2010)

Health Canada. “It’s Your Health” (accessed November 12, 2010)

Copyright Tamara Laschinsky. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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