After Almost Losing His Mom To Breast Cancer, Teen Designs A Bra To Detect It

by Sarah Hosseini
Image via Julián Ríos Cantú/Instagram

The bra detects cancer in its early stages

They say necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, it’s both necessity and a mother that inspired a life saving bra.

Eighteen-year-old Julián Ríos Cantú, a student from Mexico, just won the top prize at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) this weekend for his creation of EVA, an intelligent bra that can help in the early detection of breast cancer.

The teen was moved to design the bra after almost losing his mother to the disease.

“When I was 13 years old, my mother was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer,” 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.”

While facing the heartbreaking reality that his mom almost didn’t survive, a brilliant life-saving idea was born: make a smart bra that detects cancer. Shortly after conceiving the idea, Ríos Cantú and his friends formed the company, Higia, when he was just 17 years old. The group of young entrepreneurs got to work right away on designing a smart bra.

The revolutionary bra EVA, uses 200 biosensors that 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.

Image via Higia Technologies/Facebook

“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.” An increase in heat indicates that more blood is flowing and vessels are “feeding” something, which could mean some type of cancer, according to Ríos Cantú. The sensors pick up on this and will alert you. He says, “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.”

A video on the company’s website details the stark numbers when it comes to breast cancer. The YouTube clip says 1.7 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year worldwide.

According to the latest figures compiled by the American Cancer Society, an estimated 41,070 women will die from breast cancer this year in the United States. Additionally, breast cancer is found more in non-Hispanic white women, followed by African American women. And in contrast, breast cancer death rates are highest for African American women, followed by non-Hispanic white women. Those statistics paint a very clear picture about why more early detection is absolutely necessary and so important.

So why a bra and not some other device or apparatus? Ríos Cantú says, “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.”

Image via Higia Technologies/Facebook

As much as we want to give him all of our money right this second, we can’t. The invention is only a prototype right now and he estimates that it will be two years before the bra is certified for use.

Quick fun fact to leave you with, the name of his company Higia was inspired by the Greek goddess Hygiea, who was the daughter of the god of healing, Asclepius. It couldn’t be a more fitting name for a company that aims to fit women with bras that save their lives.