After nearly losing his mother to breast cancer, a Mexican teen decided to invent something to help women detect the disease during its early stages.
“When I was 13 years old, my mother was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer,” Julián Ríos Cantú said in a company video for his new invention. “The tumor went from having the dimensions of a grain of rice to that of a golf ball in less than six months. The diagnosis came too late and my mother lost both of her breasts and, almost, her life.”
This experienced pushed the now 18-year-old entrepreneur to design Eva, an auto-exploration bra that helps women detect breast cancer early on. Ríos Cantú is currently the CEO and co-founder of Higia Technologies, a company he established with three close friends when he was 17.
On Saturday, the breast cancer detection bra won the top prize at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards finals competition, which hosted 56 student entrepreneurs from 56 countries.
Eva uses tactile sensors to map the surface of the breast and monitor texture, color and temperature. The invention was designed particularly for women who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, and users can use a mobile or desktop app to review their condition.
“What happens is we take all that data and store it,” Ríos Cantú said in an interview with El Universal. “When there is a tumor in the breast there is more blood, more heat, so there are changes in temperature and in texture. We will tell you, ‘in this quadrant there are drastic changes in temperature’ and our software specializes in caring for that area. If we see a persistent change, we will recommend that you go to the doctor.”
“Why a bra? Because it allows us to keep the breasts in the same position and it doesn’t have to be used more than one hour every week,” he added.
The entrepreneur’s invention is only a prototype, and he estimates it’ll be two years before it will be certified for use, according to the Mexican newspaper.
The American Cancer Society estimates 41,070 women will die of breast cancer in the United States this year.