Smart bra screens for breast cancer

Smart bra screens for breast cancer

Morris, Deana

A BREAST-SCREENING smart bra that allows users to detect cancer at its earliest stage is being developed by an international team of researchers.

The team consists of scientists from the Centre for Research and Innovation (CMRI) at the University of Bolton, UK; RES Ltd, Russia;Turkey’s Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Association (ITKIB); the Greek national health service (IKA);and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC).

CMRI’s Director Professor Elias Siores, inventor of the smart bra, says it can detect cancer before the tumour can develop and spread into the surrounding areas. It can also help to evaluate the effectiveness of any breast cancer treatment its wearer is undergoing.

The smart bra works using a microwave antennae system device that can be easily woven into the fabric of the garment. The antennae picks up any abnormal temperature changes in the breast tissue, abnormalities associated with cancer cells. Information about each breast is collected and transferred via conducting polymers. A separate controller unit analyses the information and sets off an alarm if the normal breast tissue temperature is exceeded.

Siores says he expects the bra to go into manufacture within the next couple of years, adding: “Early detection gives women more confidence in the preliminary assessment stage and those with breast cancer the highest survival prognosis.

“The cancer detection is based on the principle that metabolic activity and vascular circulation in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in normal breast tissue. This process results in an increase in regional internal and external temperatures of the breast. The microwave antenae has high sensitivity and can detect these temperature variations, which are the earliest indications of the breast cancer and/or a pre-cancerous state of the breast.”

Smart bra data will be easy to interpret for the wearer since the audible and/or visual alarm will alert them to the potential need for further medical expert diagnosis and assessment.

According to Siores.’There are no health risks associated with this form of passive microwave technology. It is not only very safe but also very cost-effective. We would not expect the unit cost to be much above the average cost of a traditional bra.”

CMRI reports that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with more than one million new cases reported worldwide in 2000. Moreover, incidence of breast cancer is increasing in most countries. Incidence is highest in North American and North Europe and lowest in Asia and Africa, but in countries where rates have been low, especially in Asia, the rate of increase is the greatest.

Deana Morris, Communications, University of Bolton, Deane Road, Bolton, Lancashire, BL3 5AB, UK.



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