Wearable Breast Cancer Test Sees Tumors Before Doctors Can

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is the key to survival. The trouble is that early detection systems like self checks and mammograms can’t detect tumors until they are around 1 cm, which is about the size of a pea. A new wearable monitor could cut years off of the time it takes to detect tumors, vastly improving chances for survival.

The device is called First Warning System, and it looks and feels just like a regular sports bra. The difference is that it tracks changes in body temperature over time, specifically looking for spikes in blood vessel activity that could indicate the formation and growth of a tumor. In clinical trials, the system is 90 percent accurate in detecting tissue abnormalities.

The bra first has to be worn for a time to allow it to establish baseline data such as hormonal and activity-related temperature changes. The data during the initial baseline establishment and then during normal wear is uploaded to software that allows the user to see exactly what is happening inside her body. Any areas showing abnormalities can be further investigated by tests such as biopsies.

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See more in Medical Marvels or under Science. November, 2012.