According to the World Cancer Research Fund, 1.7 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. In the United States alone, over 40,000 women will die this year due to breast cancer.
Statistics, however, can sometimes mask the fact that real people are suffering.
One teen’s run-in with the disease has spurred him to act to help those diagnosed survive and get treatment as quickly as they can. And he’s doing it with a bra.
Julian Rios Cantu is the 18-year-old CEO and co-founder of Higia Technologies, a startup founded on a single principle: to end the pain and suffering caused by breast cancer.
Cantu knows personally the pain caused by misdiagnosing this terrible disease.
His story begins when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. Unfortunately, the tumors in his mother’s breasts were misdiagnosed, and by the time doctors were able to examine her again, it was too late.
“The tumor grew from the size of a grain of rice to that of a golf ball in less than six months,” said Cantu. “In her own words: she felt ‘mutilated’ by this disease.”
His mother had almost been killed by her cancer, and inefficient diagnosis methods. Motivated to ensure no one else would suffer like his mother, Cantu, and a small group of friends workshopped an idea. They then filed a patent, and began raising money to develop the first prototype.
That was how EVA, a sensor-laden bra was born.
“It is equipped with tactile, temperature, and light sensors,” said Cantu. “A woman uses EVA between 60-90 minutes every week, to monitor her breasts’ health periodically. And so, giving a precise diagnostic of them.”
After, the data is sent to the users’ smart phone application, which sends the information to the wearer’s chosen oncologist.
The basic idea behind such a device is that cancerous tumors sometimes produce discoloration in the skin, and, potentially cause temperature variations in the body due to the presence of blood vessels.
However, the jury is still out on whether such a bra would prove effective.
“It’s great to see young people like Julian getting into science and having ideas that could help with cancer diagnosis,” said Anna Perlman from Cancer Research UK according to the BBC. “But an important part of science is rigorous testing, to make sure innovations like this actually benefit patients.”
As of today, EVA is still in the early prototyping phase, but if it proves effective, it could potentially save millions of lives around the world.
To learn more about EVA visit the website, or watch the video below: