Is This Bra the Future of Cancer Detection?

May 5, 2017 at 11:49 a.m. ET
Image: RobinOlimb/Getty Images

When Julian Rios Cantu, now 18, nearly lost his mother to breast cancer five years ago when her cancer was not detected early, he knew he wanted to do something to help others in her situation.

Although a doctor found lumps on her breast, Cantu’s mother was told they were not malignant, but six months later, they were confirmed cancerous and both breasts had to be removed. After that, Cantu researched the disease and how it’s diagnosed, invented the cancer-detecting bra, filed a patent for it and then started his own business with some friends. He hopes to have it on sale by the end of 2018.

More:Top 10 ways to prevent breast cancer

He just won the Higia Technologies Global Student Entrepreneur Award of $20,000 to develop this idea, which right now, is at the prototype stage.

So how would a cancer-detecting bra work?

The concept involves the idea that cancerous tumors may alter skin temperature because of increased blood flow to the area. This bra — called the Eva — would measure temperatures, keep track of them in an app and let the user know if there have been any significant changes. In order for it to work, the user would have to wear it for 60 to 90 minutes each week.

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At this stage, there have been no clinical trials measuring the bra’s accuracy, so it’s too early to say whether it will work.

So what should you look for if you’re keeping an eye out for breast cancer (which we all should be doing anyway)?

Here are the most common symptoms to look for:

  • Palpable lump, usually painless
  • Nipple discharge or bloody nipple discharge
  • Dimpling of skin
  • Scaly skin of the nipple
  • Nipple retraction
  • Noticeable amount of fatigue

More: The Breast Cancer Symptom That's So Easy to Miss (And Looks Harmless)