Dr. Jay Harness: Does the ‘Breast Cancer Bra’ Really Work?

Imagine a bra that could help detect breast cancer.

Eighteen-year-old Julian Rios Cantu did more than imagine it.

He assembled a team and came up with a prototype.

Cantu’s research was inspired by his mother’s battle with the disease. Now he’s chief executive officer of Higia Technologies, a biosensors company devoted to early detection of breast cancer, in this media report from Healthline.com.

EVA, the breast cancer detection bra, looks much like any other bra.

But it’s equipped with 200 small tactile biosensors that map the surface of each breast. It monitors changes in texture, color, and temperature.

A woman would wear the bra for 60-90 minutes per week to compile the data. She would then receive the information on an app.

Healthline turned to Dr. Jay Harness for a reaction to this new technology. Dr. Harness is a breast cancer surgeon with the Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital in California.

Harness told Healthline that the bra appears to work by trying to detect temperature differences in the skin, secondary to increased blood flow, which is theoretically tied to a presence of cancer in the breast.

“We know that growth of cancers leads to increased blood flow,” he said.

“However, to be detected at the skin, these are more often advanced cancers. Stage 2 or stage 3,” he explained. “That said, it could still get women to the doctor earlier. It’s astounding to me that we still see in the United States, with all of our breast cancer detection efforts, women who arrive in physicians’ offices with large, palpable cancers in the breast that are stage 2 or stage 3.”

Although hopeful for the new technology, Dr. Harness cites both false positives and overconfidence as potential concerns:

“Infections and other issues in the breast could lead to a false positive,” cautioned Harness. “Conversely, it could absolutely give a false sense of security to a patient, which is my biggest concern. A patient at risk might start skipping mammograms, doctor visits, etc. False confidence is an immense concern.”

Although the bra is more likely to detect advanced, rather than early-stage cancer, Harness said in some areas of the world, that may still be an improvement.

“In countries where there are no organized early detection screening programs currently implemented, this may assist in getting women to physicians earlier,” he said.

Harness notes that more research is needed to confirm this. Also, strict scientific trials would be necessary before it could be introduced in the United States.

Learn more about the company behind EVA, the breast cancer bra, at this link, and by reading the full media report in Healthline.

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