A teen whose mother almost died of breast cancer has designed a bra that can help detect the disease in its early stages.
Julian Rios Cantu, an 18-year-old student from Mexico, won the top prize at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards for his potentially life-saving invention, which he calls “Eva”.
“When I was 13 years old, my mother was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer,” Rios Cantu said in a company video for his new invention.
“The tumour 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.”
Designed by Rios Cantu and three of his friends when he was 17, the bra uses sensors to map the surface of the breast and measure texture, colour and temperature.
Inspired by his mother’s experience, the invention was created for women who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer.
Using an app, wearers of the bra can track their condition.
Rios Cantu, who is now the CEO of his own company Higia Technologies, told Mexican newspaper El Universal: “When there is a tumour in the breast there is more blood, more heat, so there are changes in temperature and in texture.
“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.
As the teen’s invention is only a prototype, he predicts it will be around two years before it will be certified for use.
According to charity Breast Cancer Now, more than 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK.