According to BreastCancer.org, 12% of American women will develop a life-threatening case of breast cancer during the course of their lives. Approximately 40,610 women are expected to die from breast cancer this year alone. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, surpassed only by skin cancer. The evidence shows that around 85% of breast cancers appear in women who have no family history, but rather are because of genetic mutations that occur sporadically due to physiological changes in the body. The only weapon a woman has at her disposal is early detection, which is critical to her ability to beat the disease.
Following a massive global public education campaign, women are now in the habit of engaging in self-examination on a regular basis and having annual mammograms. If she is at high-risk, due to genetic predisposition, her examinations must be even more frequent. Some women make the radical decision to undergo mastectomies when the prevalence of breast cancer is high in their family. Knowing that early detection is the key to survival, how can a woman possibly be more proactive?
An 18 year-old young man from Mexico has the answer—a bra. Julian Rios Cantu, whose mother almost died from breast cancer channeled the passion of his experience into a brilliant invention that combines one of the oldest items in a woman’s wardrobe with today’s cutting-edge digital technology. The bra is about to become an early detection device that the woman can use in her home and potentially save her life. And, this is amazingly good news for millions of women around the world.
Cantu’s design, named the “Eva Bra” is designed with biosensors stitched into the lining. These biosensors detect the color, blood flow, temperature and texture of a woman’s breasts. Once a week for two hours is sufficient for the biosensors to obtain all the data necessary, which is then downloaded to a special app, via Bluetooth. The app will alert the user about any changes in breast composition that might indicate the beginnings of cancer.
Cantu’s inspiration came from his mother’s experience with a misdiagnosed mammogram. Tumors were detected, but her doctor thought they were benign. In fact, they were cancerous, and six months later she had to endure a double mastectomy. This saved her life, but if the diagnosis had been correct, she could have avoided the surgery. Cantu began to research breast cancer and he discovered that there are often detectable changes in a woman’s breast prior to the onset of cancer, such as a change in temperature resulting from increased blood flow to the tissue. Following this, he opened a company and began to design the Eva Bra. His company, Higia Technologies was the winner of a $20,000 grant from the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in the summer of 2016.
The Eva Bra is still in testing stage and has a few more phases through which to pass before it moves from prototype to on-the-market product. But, Cantu is very optimistic that the bra will be on the shelf by December, 2018. Finally good news for women who face the real potential of developing breast cancer.