Could your BRA save your life Underwear that can detect breast tumours could boost cancer survival rates
First Warning Systems developing bra as alternative to mammogramsEarly diagnosis crucial to prognosis
Could detect tumour up to SIX YEARS before mammogram could see itDevice intended to be used alongside self-checking and other screeningSoftware monitors temperature fluctuation that can indicate tumoursDevice also monitors changes in breast tissueSet for release in 2013
17:13 GMT, 11 October 2012
They are the saviour of female joggers everywhere and have the ability to hold men in their thrall.
But now the humble brassiere could have another – and much more vital – role to play as a company unveils plans for a hi-tech device that can be worn inside the bra to help detect breast cancer.
One million women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year – and of those, 400,000 will die.
Catching the cancer early is crucial to survival rate – and the efficacy of traditional annual mammograms as a reliable detection method is being called into question, with tumours beginning to form up to six years before they can be detected using mammograms.
Hi-tech: The bra will contain software that can monitor changes in temperature and blood flow, both of which could indicate the development of a tumour
First Warning Systems believe their device will play be able to detect tumours early on and reduce the rate of false positives and negatives – thereby helping women seek treatment as soon as possible following a diagnosis.
The invention takes the form of a sensor that is placed inside the undergarment where it will measure any changes in cell temperature caused by the blood vessel growth associated with tumours as they develop.
Medcitynews.com reported that the sensor will also contain software that uses pattern recognition, chronology and artificial intelligence to look for changes in breast tissue that might indicate a tumour was present.
SMART BRA: THE FACTS
Monitors change in cell temperature caused by blood vessel growth associated with developing tumoursPattern recognition software looks for changes in breast tissue that might indicate a tumour was presentBra set for release in 2013
They report that the size of breast tumors and how far the cancer has spread are crucial elements in determining the prognosis of women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Advancing technology – 3D mammography and thermography, for example – have gone some way in bringing early diagnoses to women. But these common methods are not infallible.
'Concerns with patient discomfort, exposure to radiation and false positives and negatives have spurred the creation of numerous other screening methods,' they said.
They report that a number of medical organisations are in the process of developing new methods of cancer detection.
Philadelphia firm UE Lifesciences is testing sensors for a handheld device intended as an alternative to mammograms.
Another, Ascendant Diagnostics, has had success in testing protein levels in tears as a way of detecting cancer early, while Delphinus Medical Technologies is in the process of developing an ultrasonic breast cancer detection device.
The launch of the bra is reported to be planned for 2013.
THE STORY OF THE SMART BRA