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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Mammography is still considered the gold standard when it comes to detecting breast cancer.
But the makers of a new bra — one that detects temperature changes in a woman’s breast — are hoping their technology will be the new standard.
Lisa Sigell, CBS2 and KCAL9′s Health Reporter, says they’re hoping to have the bra available by 2014.
Nedra Lindsay agreed to be a part of a clinical test 20 years ago.
She was 25 at the time. They told her they were experimenting with a new bra: “They told us this was an up-and-coming device and it would help detect breast cancer.”
Lindsay admits she didn’t think much of the gadget, connected to wires and electrodes. “I never thought it would be of any use to me. I was so young,” said Lindsay.
The device detected an abnormality and Lindsay was given a biopsy. She ultimately had a mastectomy. Today, she is cancer-free.
Matthew Benardis says the wires and data pack from that trial have evolved into this new model called the “First Warning System.”
“We ask women to wear this bra for 12 hours once a year starting at age 18 as part of their annual healthcare screening. That data is acquired over that 12 hour period, we interpret it and send it back to their physician. In under 30 seconds and at that point the patient and physician can consult on what the next step should be.”
How does it work? There are 16 electrodes, eight embedded into each bra cup, for 12 hours, every 30 seconds, temperatures are recorded at each sensor.
Dr. Kristi Funk of the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills says “Cancer cells have abnormal blood flow. They’re giving off constant heat. Whereas normal cells ebb and flow, this bra can hone in on where the cancer is, based on heat production.”
The bra will help all women, especially those with dense breasts. “A dense breast on mammogram looks completely white … and the cancer is white… so it’s white on white. They can cancel each other out. We can miss 40 percent of cancer in dense-breasted women,” says Funk. “If the bra can see through all that, then it’s promising.”
She believes “the bra is innovative but I don’t think it’s ready for prime time.”
The company says the bra requires no radiation, is not invasive and non-toxic.