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breast cancer, nanomedicine, nanooncology, diagnosis, treatment
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women. Despite advances in the past decade, current diagnostic and treatment modalities remain limited. Nanomedicine may overcome some drawbacks of conventional breast oncology. Based on their composition and physical properties, different types of nanoparticles can be designed as drug delivery vehicles, contrast agents and/or diagnostic devices. Their use allows for more accurate molecular profiling of cancer biomarkers, improved in vivo tumour and sentinel node imaging and better selective therapeutic targeting so that tumour exposure to antineoplastic drugs is maximized while systemic exposure is minimized. The general principles of nanomedicine, role of nanoparticles in breast cancer management, their current clinical uses, challenges and future prospects are reviewed, all in relation to breast cancer specifically. Nanomedicine appears to be a promising avenue by which breast oncology can advance.