Julian Rios Cantu is an 18-year-old Mexican who has invented a bra that can detect breast cancer by giving early warning system for breast cancer symptoms. He calls it the Eva bra and has made it with the help of three other friends.
The Eva bra is only in the prototype stage but already has raised enough money to start testing after winning the top prize at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards this week. Julian and his company, Higia Technologies, beat young entrepreneurs from around the world and won $20,000 (£15,500) that will surely go a long way to help them develop their idea.
Julian saw his mother nearly die from breast cancer that was not detected when he was 13, so he has a personal motivation for the project. Her mother had a wrong diagnosis and had to eventually lose both her breasts to save her life. This incident certainly had a huge impact on Julian.
How does the cancer-detecting bra work?
Usually, cancerous tumors are at higher temperatures than the rest of the skin due to increased blood flow. This is the idea used by the Eva bra that employs biosensors that measure the temperatures, logs them in an app and detects any discrepancy in the regular temperatures.
Women only need to wear the bra for 60-90 minutes a week to get the measurements.
Will a cancer-detecting bra actually work?
The product is still in its early stages and requires medical trials before cancer experts can endorse it.
Julian made the bra after in-depth research on the illness and diagnostic practices and has already filed a patent. He hopes to have the product ready for sales as early as the end of next year.
Anna Perman from Cancer Research UK talked to BBC:
“We know that tumours 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 tumours, 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 cancer diagnosis. But an important part of science is rigorous testing, to make sure innovations like this actually benefit patients.”
How to detect breast cancer without the Eva bra?
Many people don’t know this, but breast cancer advice goes for men as well as women, although women are far more at risk.
Early signs of breast cancer include:
lumps in the chest or armpit area
a change in the size, shape or feel of a breast
fluid leaking from the nipple (not breast milk)
pain in the chest
Read more about breast cancer symptoms here, and you must visit a doctor if you see anything alarming.
Ms. Perman says:
“Finding breast cancer at an early stage can make a real difference to the chance of surviving the disease, so our advice is to get to know what’s normal for you, and if you notice anything unusual, see your GP.”
Pretty cool, isn’t it?