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India
16 Mar 2019

Kerala scientist makes low-cost bra which can detect breast cancer

Kerala scientist makes low-cost breast cancer detecting bra

In a major breakthrough, Dr. A Seema, a scientist from Kerala's Thrissur, and her six-member team developed a low-cost bra which can detect breast cancer.

Her invention took her places and on March 8, International Women's Day, Dr. Seema was awarded the highest civilian honor for women, Nari Shakti Puraskar, by President Ram Nath Kovind.

So how does this bra work? Let's tell you.

In context

Kerala scientist makes low-cost breast cancer detecting bra
Breast cancer is killing Indian women

Menace

Breast cancer is killing Indian women

According to a report by ET, one out of every 22 Indian women develops breast cancer. One out of the two women who are struck by the disease, die.

Unlike the West, young women in India aren't immune to breast cancer.

The report added that by 2030 breast cancer would have killed more women in India than any other form of cancer.

Problems

The lack of awareness makes treatment difficult

Notably, the stigma attached to breast cancer makes the treatment more difficult.

Adding to the woes, the detection of breast cancer is expensive.

A typical mammogram screening at hospitals costs somewhere between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 8,000. Moreover, doctors suggest the process for only women older than 50 years.

These factors inspired the team Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET) to do something.

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Dr. Sharma explained how everything started

Beginning

Dr. Sharma explained how everything started

Dr. Sharma revealed that the idea of making a portable device struck in 2014 when the director of Malabar Cancer Centre (Kannur) visited the team.

"They broached the idea of working out ways of breast cancer detection on a community scale. The mammogram was the golden standard but the provision wasn't available in even Primary Health Centers across the country," she said.

Process

The bra has sensors which detect abnormalities

For the next four years, the team worked hard to invent the product. The product was tested on 112 patients at Malabar Cancer Centre and 200 volunteers.

So how does the bra work? The life-saving bra has sensors which detect any kind of abnormalities in breasts.

"This can then form the basis for patients to take further course of action," Dr. Seema explained.

The bra is completely safe, respects privacy

Features

The bra is completely safe, respects privacy

Dr. Seema confirmed the bra doesn't emit any radiation. She added that while a mammogram screening is painful, this bra is comfortable.

"The device is portable which makes it perfect for any health care or ASHA worker to carry with them during field visits," she said.

The bra also addresses privacy concerns, unlike the mammogram screening where women aren't allowed to wear anything.

Even young girls can wear it, said Dr. Seema

"Even girls as young as 15 or 20 years of age can use the wearable device which caters to all body types. This is not possible in the case with the mammogram, as only women above 40 can undertake the screening," Dr. Seema explained.

Cost

Soon, breast cancer tests will become extremely cheap

Dr. Seema explained that a digital mammogram machine costs about Rs. 3.5 crore. But their device, which is divided into the wearable unit, data acquisition system, and the software, is much cheaper.

"The wearable device alone would cost between Rs. 400-500 and these are our lab estimates," she said.

Once commercialized, the tests would cost just Rs. 50, Dr. Seema promised.

Dr. Seema said appreciation made the team happy

Dr. Seema, whose team includes Dr. M N Muralidharan, Renjith, Arathi K, Eva Ignatius, Haseena, Sreelakshmi, along with technical staff, Sunny and Sridhar, said the urge to do something positive for the society led to this invention. She was glad their efforts are being recognized.

Earlier, a Mexican teenager invented a similar bra

Similar invention

Earlier, a Mexican teenager invented a similar bra

Earlier, a teen from Mexico invented a similar bra and won accolades from around the globe.

The 18-year-old entrepreneur named Julián Ríos Cantú got the idea after his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, for the second time, when he was 13.

He joined hands with three of his friends and they made the 'EVA bra' which detects the disease in early stages itself.

Success

After his idea got attention, Julián's company raised funds

The EVA bra, which has 200 bio-sensors, can detect breast cancer even if women wear it just for one hour every week.

The bra monitors changes in temperature, weight, and shape of the breasts, and women can see the development on a mobile or desktop app.

Last year, Julián's Higia Technologies received an investment from Y Combinator, for making the life-saving device.

Ask NewsBytes
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Most asked questions

Where can you buy this bra?

How does this low-cost bra work?

Who invented this bra?

Will it be necessary to undergo a mammogram screening even after wearing the bra?

How much does a mammogram screening cost?

More questions

Where can you buy this bra?

Asked 18 hours ago by Dharani G

Answered by NewsBytes

The team at Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), which invented this bra, is in process of commercializing it. The bras will be available in medical centers soon.

How does this low-cost bra work?

Asked 1 day ago by Vibhore Rangan

Answered by NewsBytes

The low-cost bra has sensors which detect abnormalities in the breasts. This forms the basis for women to go through further tests.

Who invented this bra?

Asked 1 day ago by Aadhya Jaiteley

Answered by NewsBytes

The life-saving low-cost bra was invented by a team in Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-Met). The team was led by Dr. A Seema.

Will it be necessary to undergo a mammogram screening even after wearing the bra?

Asked 1 day ago by Muhammad Dutta

Answered by NewsBytes

Yes. A mammogram screening confirms whether one has breast cancer or not. While this bra does the initial detection, going to the doctors is absolutely necessary.

How much does a mammogram screening cost?

Asked 1 day ago by Pranav Shah

Answered by NewsBytes

A mammogram screening costs somewhere between Rs. 1,500 and Rs, 8,000.

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