University of Oulu

Evaluating a breast tumor monitoring vest with flexible UWB antennas and realistic phantoms : a proof-of-concept study

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Author: Dessai, Rakshita1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Electrical Engineering
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.4 MB)
Pages: 62
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : R. Dessai, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-07-05
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Myllymäki, Sami
Särestöniemi, Mariella
Reviewer: Myllymäki, Sami
Särestöniemi, Mariella


The introduction provides an overview of the global significance of breast cancer as a health concern and the limitations of existing breast cancer screening methods. It introduces the concept of microwave-based breast cancer monitoring and highlights the promising findings from a previous research paper. The objective of the master thesis is presented, which is to develop and evaluate a self-monitoring vest equipped with UWB antennas and channel analysis to overcome the limitations of current screening methods and enable regular breast cancer monitoring from home.

The "Background and Literature Review," provides a comprehensive overview of the relevant topics related to microwave techniques for breast cancer detection. It starts by discussing the anatomy of the female breast, highlighting the importance of understanding its structure for effective tumor detection. The section then delves into the microwave properties of the human breast, elucidating the interactions between microwaves and breast tissue. The basic principle of microwave channel analysis is explained, emphasizing its significance in detecting breast tumors. Furthermore, the advantages of microwave-based tumor detection methods are explored, showcasing their potential for improved breast cancer screening. Various microwave techniques used in breast cancer detection, including microwave tomography and radar-based UWB microwave imaging, are discussed, along with different self-monitoring vests integrated with UWB antennas. This section serves as a foundation for the subsequent chapters of the thesis, providing a comprehensive background and literature review to support the research and development of the practical self-monitoring vest for early detection of small-sized breast tumors.

The "Preparation of Tissue Phantoms" section in the master’s thesis explores the comprehensive methodology for creating tissue phantoms that replicate the dielectric properties of various human tissues. While the section primarily focuses on fat tissue, it also acknowledges the existence of other phantom types. The outlined approach involves careful ingredient selection, formulation development, fabrication techniques, and stability evaluation for the creation of skin, muscle, fat, tumor, and gland tissue phantoms. By following these procedures, researchers can successfully produce tissue phantoms that closely mimic the properties of real human tissues. These phantoms serve as essential tools for investigating microwave-based applications in medical diagnostics and provide a reliable and versatile platform for further research in the field.

The third section discusses the assembly of heterogeneous breast phantoms used for evaluating the performance of the tumor detection vest. The phantoms consisted of outer and inner molds, with the outer molds resembling the shape of a prone human breast. Two breast density types, representing very dense and less dense breasts, were used. For the dense breast phantoms, liquid fat material was solidified in the outer molds, and a glandular liquid was poured into the inner mold, with tumors inserted and covered with additional glandular liquid. For the less dense breast phantoms, fat liquid was solidified in the outer molds, and cylindrical glandular molds were inserted. A skin layer and muscle layer were added to complete the assembly, accurately simulating the composition and structure of a breast. This realistic breast phantom assembly allowed for accurate measurements and evaluation of the vest’s performance under different breast density conditions, contributing to breast imaging research and development.

The "Monitoring Vest" section discusses the antennas used in the tumor detection vest and the design of two different vest versions. Antenna1 is a UWB monopole antenna with a flexible laminate substrate, while Antenna2 is a textile-based version of Antenna1. Antenna3 has a Kapton-based substrate and larger dimensions. The combination of these antennas ensures accurate tumor detection in various breast conditions. The section also highlights the measurement and comparison of the S11 parameter for the PCB antenna in free space and when placed on the skin, emphasizing the impact of the skin on antenna performance. The section concludes by describing the design of the vests, including the arrangement of pockets and the use of RF cables for connection. The careful design and implementation of the vests and antenna placement ensure accurate measurements and reliable performance evaluation.

The results section of the study shows that the presence of tumors in breast tissue leads to a noticeable decrease in channel attenuation. The higher dielectric properties of tumors cause additional reflections and diffraction, affecting signal propagation within the breast. These changes in channel characteristics are influenced by factors such as tumor size, breast density, and antenna configuration. The study demonstrates the detectability of tumors and provides valuable insights for developing effective tumor detection systems in different breast tissue scenarios.

In this master thesis, a prototype of a breast tumor monitoring vest utilizing UWB flexible antennas was developed and evaluated. The research demonstrated the effectiveness of the vest in detecting breast tumors, even as small as 1cm, by leveraging the distinct characteristics of radio channels among multiple on-body antennas embedded in the vest. Higher frequencies in the 7–8 GHz range showed improved resolution and contrast in relative permittivity, enhancing the accuracy of tumor detection. The development of tissue phantoms played a crucial role, enabling reliable experiments to mimic human tissues. Integration of advanced AI algorithms and 6G technology holds promise for enhancing diagnostic capabilities and revolutionizing healthcare. Overall, the breast tumor monitoring vest shows potential for widespread implementation in breast health checks, home monitoring, and wireless healthcare systems.

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Copyright information: © Rakshita Dessai, 2023. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.