About 1 in 8 U.S. women (approximately 12 percent) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That figure is the national average in Mexico as well where about 7.6 million women are at risk of contracting breast cancer during the course of their life.
In the United States breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing the previous two decades. In fact, they dropped by 7 percent from 2002 to 2003 alone. Much of that is due to the increased awareness as to what may cause breast cancer – a reduction in hormone replacement therapy according to medical professionals has played a significant role – along with advancements in treatment and early detection.
One inventor in Mexico has made early detection even easier by creating a bra that will help detect tumors, calcifications or malformations by gauging breast temperature for 60 minutes and running that data with a database program.
The inventor is 17-year-old Julian Rios from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and his invention could be the solution to early detection of breast cancer in rural parts of Mexico and – possibly – in the U.S.
The bra is called Eva and will carry a price tag of roughly $2,500 pesos (approximately $140 dollars at the current U.S. dollar exchange rate) when it goes to market as expected in 2018 or 2019. Meanwhile Rios, who won’t be of legal drinking age in Mexico for another year, continues to perfects his model while employing some of his closest friends and confidants.
Making up Rios’ team are four oncologists, as well as specialists in artificial intelligence from Monterrey Tech and Stanford University that create the software with which the temperature-related data from the bra is diagnosed against an analytical algorithm.
According to Rios the idea came to him as he watched his mother suffer through an initial breast cancer diagnosis that proved to be worse than it was over time.
“I became aware of the huge failure of the mammogram,” Rios said in an interview with Mexican media outlets. “If that was the best method, I didn’t want to even know what the worst one was. The self-exploration is a completely subjective method. I mean you put your fingers on your breast and you do a diagnosis. In my opinion it was something that had to change.”
So he sought out a change using his background in technology and his enrollment in a innovative project at his high school, he gathered two of his closest friends – who are now both employed in the Eva Project as Director of Technology and Leader of Innovation – and got to work.
Whether or not the bra segues into further detective devices remains to be seen.
“Technological patents can be tricky to go around,” said Michael Avis, a commercial lawyer for three of Colorado’s Fortune 500 companies. “I’m sure with his own company already in the works and a technological patent on the temperature-measuring bra structure, most any company that decides to deal in a similar forum, would have to go through him first.”
Avis added that Rios could most definitely sell his patent to the higher bidder if he were in the arena of mass production, which would likely propel him from innovator to entrepreneurial genius, but Rios does not let on that becoming a millionaire is his sole purpose.
According to Rios, his plan going forward is to eventually reduce the cost of the bra – to benefit a rather substantial amount for rural and impoverished Mexicans – by further developing his database and software production. All of which would enable him to take the bra to rural Mexicans in need of such technology.
“I think it is something that could benefit a lot of people,” Avis said. “On a mass scale production it could easily be sold in the U.S. for around $80-90 dollars and in Mexico for a similarly cost-efficient amount.”