Cindy Lain was just 41 years old when she got the call that changed her life forever. She went from being a mom of three young children, to a woman battling cancer. "It was surreal. When the doctor called and said, 'Cindy you have cancer,' you don't hear much after that."
Matthew Benardis hopes one day doctors won't have to make that phone call. His company, called First Warning Systems, has developed a bra that can detect temperature changes in a woman's breasts which could signal breast cancer. "We ask women to wear this bra for 12 hours once a year starting at age 18 as part of their annual healthcare screening. That data is acquired over that 12 hour period, sent to us by their physician, we interpret it and send it back to their physician in under 30 seconds and at that point the patient and physician can consult on what the next step should be."
Sixteen sensors, 8 on each breast, collect the data. Five different algorithms analyze the information. The results come back as one of four possibilities: normal, a benign lesion, suspicious or positive. And according to clinical trials, the bra is accurate. "And against the screening mammogram in young and dense breasted women we're showing false positives-false negative rates of between 5-9% versus 35-38% in the screening mammogram."
The key demographic for this bra is the group of women most under served, women under 40 and those with dense breasts. It is estimated that more than 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 or younger are living in the U.S. today. And 50% of women have dense breasts.
Women, like Cindy, who believe this bra is key to early detection. "I feel this is a very empowering tool for women. And they owe it to themselves and their kids and their families to be on top of it."
First Warning Systems hope to have the bra available for public use by mid 2014.
For more information about the bra, go to www.firstwarningsystems.comWritten By Wendy Damonte