It’s been estimated that one-in-eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer over the course of their lives. However, thanks to medical advancements, the chances of recovery dramatically increase if it is detected in its early stages.
After he almost lost his mother to the disease, 18-year-old Julian Rios Cantu was determined to create a solution.
Sadly, when he was just 13 years old, his mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.
After discovering lumps in her breast, she went to the doctor for a diagnosis and was told that she had nothing to worry about. Then, just six months later, a second mammography revealed the truth and she had to have a double mastectomy.
Not wanting anyone else to suffer like his mother did, Julian began to research breast cancer and the current diagnostic techniques available. It was then that he came up with a brilliant idea that has the potential to save millions of lives – a cancer-detecting bra.
The bra will be worn for between 60 and 90 minutes a week and act as an early warning system for breast cancer symptoms.
With the help of two friends, Julian formed a company called Higia Technologies. His idea was so impressive that it won $20,000 to develop the cancer-detecting bra to the prototype stage and it could be available as early as next year.
So how exactly does the bra work?
Well, cancerous tumors change the temperature of the skin because they lead to increased blood flow. The cancer-detecting bra will be fitted with biosensors that can monitor temperatures and record any potentially concerning changes.
However, in order to be effective, the breasts must be in the same position each time the bra is worn.
Obviously, the bra will need to be subject to rigorous clinical trials and testing before its suitability in cancer detection can be properly assessed.
Anna Perman from Cancer Research UK said to the BBC, “We know that tumors often have an abnormal system of blood vessels, but we also know that increased blood flow isn’t necessarily a reliable marker of cancer.”
“At present, there is no evidence to show whether this bra is a reliable way to detect tumors, and it’s certainly not a good idea for women to use technology that hasn’t been tested in good-quality scientific trials.”
“It’s great to see young people like Julian getting into science and having ideas that could help with a cancer diagnosis. But an important part of science is rigorous testing, to make sure innovations like this actually benefit patients.”
Check out this video below to learn more about how the cancer-detecting bra works:
Julian’s bra, however, is not the only recent potentially live-saving invention.
During cancer removal operations, it can be difficult for surgeons to accurately determine what tissue they can and cannot cut away. However, a cancer-detecting pen has recently been invented which can give surgeons the answer in just 10 seconds.
The invention, called the MasSpec Pen, is currently said to be 96 percent accurate, The Verve reported.
Its inventors are hoping that the MasSpec Pen could be used in clinical trials at some point this year.
When a surgeon is removing cancerous tissue, it is important for them to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. This is especially true of breast cancer, where the loss of tissue can seriously affect a person’s life.
The pen works by using 10 microliters of water to extract data from a person’s tissue. The molecules are then sent through a tube to an instrument with the ability to recognize the molecular fingerprint of cancerous cells.
As it stands, prior to operating, surgeons operate and analyze tissue to detect if it’s cancerous or not – a process which can take days. The only quicker option is to freeze and analyze tissue during the operation itself, which takes 15 to 20 minutes.
A pen which takes 10 seconds could free up the surgeon’s valuable time and subsequently put the patient’s body under less strain.
We hope that cancer treatments continue to make promising developments in the near future.