Futuristic sports bra could detect early signs of breast cancer
Women may soon be able to wear a smart bra that does something more than just offer bounce control, it can reportedly detect breast cancer at its earlier stages.
Devised by Dr. Elias Siores of the UK's University of Bolton in 2007, the bra has been tested for sensitivity and accuracy in three clinical trials involving 650 subjects - and is inching its way toward being a marketable product. According to the company, First Warning Systems, a final clinical trial is being planned. But so far, so good: studies have shown it can indicate cancer up to six years before a tumor can be detected by imaging, reports MedCityNews.com.
The bra works via its microwave antennae system woven into the fabric. Using the science of thermography, it can detect slight temperature changes as the result of increased blood flow, which could signal the development of breast cancer tumors. Users can track the signals on a computer or smartphone, and elevation in temperatures will set off a warning for users to call their doctor.
"And while getting a weekly mammogram to catch breast cancer in its earliest stages is impractical, wearing a smart sports bra that's just as effective at early detection isn't," writes Gizmodo on Wednesday, adding that this bra has potential to "revolutionize screenings."
Considering one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lives, and traditional screenings are not as effective for women under 40 due to their denser breast tissue, this could prove a viable option. However, since women will need to wear the bra regularly to detect changes, it might not be that practical for some women.
Assuming the final clinical trial yields positive results, the bra could hit the market next year in Europe and potentially in the US in 2014, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration.