Researchers at the University of Warwick have developed a unique, highly accurate, breast cancer mannequin that, for the first time, will give women learning how to spot breast lumps a training aid that can closely mimic what a range of breast lumps actually look and feel like.
The quest to create this unique breast cancer teaching aid began when three highly motivated disability nurses approached University of Warwick plastics engineer Dr Nick Tucker to help them create a teaching aid that would assist them in teaching breast cancer awareness and self inspection to people with learning difficulties. The final result is something that will be of great assistance to all women.
The mannequin consists of a fiberglass torso, which can be fitted with 4 different interchangeable types of breast implants, all containing different tissue anomalies (lumps). The torso with the silicone rubber breast implants is covered by a latex covering of ‘skin’ which makes the model appear and feel true-to-life.
The device enables individuals to learn self-examination. It will benefit all women but will be of particular benefit those with learning difficulties who’s limited reading skills limit how much they can benefit from many current breast cancer self examination training methods.
The mannequin will also be particularly useful when working with women with cultural inhibitions that otherwise impede them learning about self examination.
Clinical trials are underway to investigate the use of the mannequins in a GP Surgery, a Residential Home for Learning Disability and a Cancer Treatment Centre. Early results of those trails have been very positive. The nurses and Dr Tucker have also already begun investigating the development of a similar model for testicular cancer.
The mannequin will provide a unique breast cancer training experience for women – but it has already been a unique experience for Stourbridge machining company Micron Machining. Normally the company deals with metal and plastic based precision light and medium engineering but Dr Tucker and the Nurses persuaded the company to give them free use of their equipment and skilled staff to create the prototype main mannequin frames and skins to the design and concept of Dr Tucker and the Nurses. The company now hopes to get a diversification grant to allow to assist a full production run of the device.
A selection of photographs can be found below. Click on the Print Version links for a 300dpi print quality photo.
For further details please contact:
Peter Dunn, Press Officer, University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 523708
Tel: 024 76 522499
Tel: 077929 40426
Notes for Editors
1. The University of Warwick and the nurses are also grateful to plastics suppliers Ambersil ltd who provided materials, the Black Country business link who introduced the nurses to Dr Tucker, and the Polymer Cluster of the Wolverhampton –Telford Technology Corridor who provided the equivalent of £13,000 worth of assistance to the project.
2. Health professionals wishing to find out more should contact the nurses on 077929 40426