Breast cancer kills an estimated 39,500 women a year; yet if it’s detected early enough, the five-year survival rate is over 95 percent. Now, the new Breast Tissue Screening Bra provides women continuous screening in the comfort of their own clothes. In over three clinical trials, the bra correctly identified 92.1 percent of tumors, compared to the 70 percent accuracy of routine mammograms. More importantly, the bra measures subtle, longitudinal changes in skin temperature that can indicate a tumor as many as six years before a traditional screening would detect it (more explanation in the company’s video below):
Interestingly, in 2009, an influential federal task force recommended that women under 40 stop getting routine mammograms, since the high rate of false positives led too many women to undergo unnecessary treatment. A widely used cancer-detecting bra could increase both the number of tumors detected, but also the false positives, which means that the medical community will have to grapple with this new technology in a responsible way.
First Warning Systems plans to commercialize the BSE bra in Europe in 2013 and, pending FDA approval, in the United States in 2014.