An 18-year-old student from Mexico took home the top award at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards for designing a bra that can help to detect breast cancer.
Julián Ríos Cantú was inspired to create the device after watching his mother almost die twice from breast cancer before she had a double mastectomy.
Cantú set up a company, Higia Technologies, at the age of 17 with three friends and created the device, known as EVA, which is primarily aimed at women with a genetic pre-disposition to breast cancer.
Speaking to El Universal, Cantú explained that “when there is a tumour in the breast there is more blood, more heat and then there are sudden changes in temperature. in texture.” The bra is equipped with hundreds of biosensors which detect and track these changes in the breast. The data is then collected and analysed; any changes are flagged and if they persist the wearer is recommended to seek medical advice.
The bra only needs to be worn for one hour a week, taking away the need to rely on manual exploration and the subsequent “subjective diagnosis”.
With concern over a shortfall in screening in Mexico, Cantú wants to let women know that “in the future there will be a new method for detection”, although he accepts that validation can “take a long time”. He has been working with oncologists at a hospital in California to perform diagnostic tests but he expects it to take about two years for the prototype to be certified for use.
Cantú beat 13 other student entrepreneurs from around the globe to the top prize of $20,000 (approx. £15.5K) and now has his sights firmly set on his next challenge of Silicon Valley.
Warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer
Book an appointment with your GP if you notice:
- A new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
- A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- Bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples
- A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- A rash on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
(Via NHS Choices.)