Thousands of women have been ‘misled’ into
buying a torch which claims to detect breast cancer, the advertising watchdog
– claims to help women spot the first signs of tumours.
More than 20,000 of the torches have been sold
worldwide since they were launched in 2006.
But in a ruling published today, the Advertising
Standards Authority said the website which advertises and sells the devices is
‘misleading’ and ‘irresponsible’.
Cancer charities are also concerned that women
are using the torches as a ‘substitute’ for breast screening and subsequently
getting ‘false reassurance’. On the product’s website, manufacturers PWB Health
describe the torch as an ‘earlier breast cancer screening device’.
Women are advised to use the device in a
darkened room and shine the red light of the torch on their breasts which
enables them to see under the skin.
Veins and blood vessels appear as dark lines and
any tumours may show up as shadows.
The manufacturers claim to have carried out
trials on 300 women showing the torch successfully detected cancers in two
thirds of cases.
They also say that 80 per cent who have used it
felt ‘more confident’ afterwards. But the ASA has today ordered the
manufacturers to change the website and remove such claims.