Kerala Scientist Develops a One Of A Kind Low Cost Bra that Detects Breast Cancer

Image Source: C-MET
Image Source: C-MET

Dr. A Seema, a scientist from Kerala’s Thrissur has created history: in a major breakthrough, she and her team has invented a low-cost bra that detects breast cancer. This invention comes at a time when the country really needs it. With an average of 1,00,000 cases reported every year, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India. When detected early, this cancer can often be treated with a great survival rate. But in India, a large percentage of patients – from both urban and rural areas – present with late-stage breast cancer. To detect breast cancer early, women must undergo a mammogram – a test used for breast cancer detection that costs anywhere between Rs. 1500 to Rs. 8000. Apart from being expensive, the test is also quite invasive, making it an unfavourable option for many women.

This is where Dr. Seema’s invention comes in: the low-cost bra is a wearable device that is embedded with sensors and uses thermal imaging to detect cancerous cells in breasts. As Dr. Seems tells Better India, “The sensors map the skin temperature of the breasts and detects the presence of any form of abnormalities. Which can then form the basis for patients to take further course of action”. The device has an upper hand when we talk about affordability, feasibility and accessibility. It is a portable device, which an easily be carried around in a small briefcase by health care workers during field visits. It allows for a private check up without the invasive nature of a mammogram – and additionally, there is no exposure to skin radiation.

Image Source: C-Met

The need for easier detection of breast cancer in women has not gone unheard before. Unfortunately, there is nowhere near enough awareness about importance of breast examination across the country. The symptoms can go undiagnosed until the cancer reaches a fatal stage, which is why regular examinations are a must. But how many women in India have access to hospitals? How many can afford the exorbitant price of a mammogram? This is why Dr. Seema’s invention is all the more important - it makes prevention possible before cure.

On March 8th, Dr. Seema was conferred the Nari Shakti Puraskar by the President, the highest civilian award for women. The team was also awarded the National Award for Women’s Development through Application of Science and Technology for their contribution. “Receiving awards and recognition is really motivating but what really would validate our years of efforts would be when this device will reach the market and benefit every single woman. That was the sole reason why we immediately put out the device for commercialisation as soon as it fulfilled the clinical trials. We are earnestly waiting for that day,” Dr Seema tells Better India. Another feather in India’s cap, we hope Dr. Seema’s device changes the face of breast cancer in India for the better.

Source: C-MET

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