A smart bra can supposedly screen for early signs of breast cancer
A sensor-studded sports bra worn by women for just half a day could make breast cancer screening both easier and more effective, according to enthusiastic news reports. But the prototype device’s reliance upon measuring the temperature of breast tissue resembles a screening method that has proven ineffective in the past.
First Warning Systems, the manufacturer of the “smart bra,” says it uses 16 temperature sensors to detect “deep-tissue temperature changes” from the growth of new blood vessels related to cancer cells over 12 hours. That technology promises to provide noninvasive screening that’s earlier and more accurate than the mammogram X-rays that represent the current standard for breast cancer detection.
Mammogram X-rays have their own problems and represent an imperfect solution for breast cancer screening, experts agree. But First Warning System’s use of temperature measurements looks similar in many ways to “thermography” devices that have failed to beat mammograms in the past.
“Although this is an intriguing concept and an interesting field of research, clinical data that have been published so far do not indicate that any of the (temperature-measuring) devices currently available are accurate enough for clinical use,” said Ted Gansler, a medical doctor who is the editor of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, published by the American Cancer Society.
First Warning Systems explained to TechNewsDaily that its breast cancer screening method is not identical to thermography, because thermography relies upon creating temperature “maps” or snapshots in a single moment in time. By contrast, First Warning System’s technology tracks and analyzes temperature changes on the surface of a woman’s breasts over half a day.
The company’s technology works by tracking temperature changes to figure out the patterns related to the 24-hour circadian cycle of human cells. Some studies have suggested that cancer can disrupt circadian temperature patterns by spurring the growth of new blood vessels, which give off additional heat.
First Warning Systems said it has created specialized computer software that can “remember and recognize” the patterns of known cancer cases. That allows the software to provide human physicians with the probabilities for the presence of cancer based on previous patterns.
Source: Life Science