3D Printing to Help Monitor Breast Cancer Treatment

3D Printing to Help Monitor Breast Cancer Treatment

By Daniel Lawrence – 07/11/2018

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among New Zealand women. It is estimated over 18,000 women and almost 150 men will be diagnosed with the disease in 2018 and from that, over 3000 people die every year in 2018. Although too many New Zealander’s die from the disease, breast cancer is a treatable form of cancer if detected early enough. With recent advancements in medical technology, mortality rates are steadily falling.

Over the past few years a number of new treatments and detection strategies have been introduced to treating doctors and governing bodies around the world. Some of the new technologies filtering into to the world of cancer treatment are 3D Printing and robotic technologies. These technologies are providing real positive change to the sector by allowing doctors to accurately and non-invasivly, operate on patients with far lower risk.
For the first time new robotic technologies are being used to treat breast cancer in the southern hemisphere. The Chris O’brien Lifehouse, a specialised patient treatment centre in Sydney, Australia, have recently started performing mastectomies with the aid of robotics and 3D printing. Mastectomies pose significant risk to patients as the work is very intricate and unique to the patient’s condition. The da Vinci Xi surgical robot has been utilised to assist doctors with the precise removal of cancer tissue.


Da Vinci Medical Assist Robot performing minimally intrusive surgery.

The da Vinci Xi surgical robot has recently been implemented by the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to assist doctors in performing breast surgery. It is a robotic surgical operating system developed to assist doctors perform minimally invasive operations and keyhole surgeries with reduced risk and greater accuracy. The robotic system translates the surgeons hand gestures into carefully controlled movements of the surgical instruments. This is all done through an advanced high resolution interactive screen interface that provides the doctor with a live video feed from inside the incision.

The Chris O’brien Lifehouse has also been utilising 3D printing to assist in the treatment and monitoring of patient’s conditions. The Upbox+ 3D printer, a 3D Printer available to the public, has been used to manufacture 3d scans of growths and tumors found in patients.


UpBox 3D Printer used to print a tumor model, before and after radiation treatment.

This 3D print was done using the UpBox+ 3D printer after being 3D scanned. It physically demonstrates the reduction in size of a tumour after specialised treatment at the Chris O’brien Lifehouse. 3D Printers like the Upbox+ are being used around Australia and the world to assist doctors plan treatments and explain concepts.


Upbox+ 3D Printer

The future is brighter for cancer patients thanks to recent innovations in 3D printing, 3D scanning, advanced manufacturing technologies as well as the work done by institutes like the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Hopefully with the right investment and attention, these evolving production methods can save the lives of many people living with diseases and chronic conditions.

The UpBox+ and the Upbox Mini are available directly from us! Please see CammPro.com.au/store for our complete range of 3D Printers and 3D Scanners.

Daniel Lawrence