October is breast cancer awareness month. Each year, over one million women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer. Within that same time frame, 400,000 women will die from this disease. This doesn’t have to be the case. With early enough detection, it can be halted nearly 100% of the time.
The main issue is that cancerous tumors are extremely small and often undetectable for nearly a decade via current methods! Not only that, the options available today have a surprising number of negatives including radiation exposure, discomfort and false positives at an alarming rate of over 40%!
First Warning Systems
A Nevada start-up called First Warning Systems aims to not only eliminate the inefficiencies of current cancer detection methods, but to cut the possible detection time by two thirds, perhaps rendering the mammogram as we know it obsolete.
Just how are they doing it? First Warning Systems has unveiled a breast cancer detecting smart bra that with sporadic use, promises to alert the user of a developing tumor up to six years in advance of MRIs and mammograms! The company has already tested the device for sensitivity and accuracy in three clinical trials, with a fourth scheduled.
Smart Bra…sort of
The smart bra isn’t a bra you can go buy at your local lingerie store, it’s actually a group of sixteen sensors that are comfortably placed within a bra. The early tumor detection sensors are strategically located within, but it’s not yet certain whether you can just buy the sensor and install it yourself, or if it will be designed for a specific bra manufactured by First Warning Systems.
The device works by measuring temperature changes of cells within breasts. These fluctuations arise via the creation of new blood vessels that is most often (90% of the time) tied in to tumor growth. Once this data has been gathered, it is then interpreted either on your computer or your smart phone using artificial intelligence and pattern recognition. The software analyzes changes in breast tissue, and can alert a user with 90% certainty that something irregular is happening.
How can I get my hands on one?
The company’s thought is that the average woman will be able to access this technology through a number of comfortable and familiar venues. First Warning Systems envisions their smart bra hardware and software to be available at free standing clinics, offices of general practitioners, obstetricians, gynecologists, internists and other similar places.
According to the company website, they’re in the process of obtaining $5 million in funding, and have plans to unveil their smart bra in Europe starting in 2013. If all goes well, they’ll seek FDA acceptance and hope to have this new method of cancer detection available to the public in 2014.
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