Sometimes the fear and anguish of watching your loved ones go through a hardship can be a source of great strength and inspiration. That’s what happened to Julian Rois Cantu, an 18-year-old student from Mexico whose mom almost died from breast cancer when he was a child. Motivated by his mom’s disease, he invented a device that could save the lives of millions of women.
Julian Rois Cantu’s Story
When he was 13, Julian’s mother was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in her life. “The tumor grew from the size of a grain of rice to that of a golf ball in less than 6 months,” says Julian. The second diagnosis came too late and his mom lost both of her breasts and almost her life.
“She felt mutilated by this disease,” says Julian, who blames the current methods of detecting a tumor for his mom’s late diagnosis and all the pain and suffering she had to go through. This experience is what inspired him to invent this device that can potentially change the lives of many women who are at risk of breast cancer.
The Lifesaving Invention
Julian’s genius invention is a bra that can detect cancer in its early stages using 200 tactile, temperature, and light sensors that map the surface of the breast and surrounding areas. These sensors measure all the significant factors for detecting breast cancer, such as the texture, color, and temperature of the breast. “When there is a tumor in the breast there is more blood, more heat, so there are changes in temperature and in texture,” he explains.
When you wear the bra all that information is sent via Bluetooth to a mobile or web app designed by Julian’s company. Using the app, the company analyzes the information and immediately sends the results to you and your doctor. That way, you reduce the valuable time it takes for the results to come out and then be sent to your doctor until they finally reach you. You don’t even have to wear it every day, all you need is to put it on for 60 to 90 minutes per week.
The invention’s name is EVA and thanks to it, Julian and his team won the top prize at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards and now he’s the CEO and co-founder of Higia Technologies, a Mexican biosensors company, at the age of 18.
Unfortunately, EVA is not currently in the market and it will be 2 years before it’s certified for release, but the prospect of such a wonderful and promising idea coming to life is hopeful.
How To Identify Breast Cancer Early
Even when this amazing invention becomes available for purchase, it’s good to use already established methods to detect breast cancer early because a single method could give you false reassurance.
Regular breast self-examinations are a simple and quick way to detect any changes, but they shouldn’t replace regular medical exams. The following video will give you a good idea of how to do a self-exam.
All cancers develop due to gene mutations inside your cells. When genes experience 6 or more mutations they stop working properly and the cells start dividing and grow faster than normal cells. Cancerous cells develop due to a mistake when the cell is dividing or they may be affected by factors such as cigarette smoke, sunlight, or diet.
Other cancerous cells can be passed from parents to children which increase the risk of developing cancer at a younger age. Although your chances of inheriting cancer cells are only 2 to 3%, it’s important to take precautions if you have a family history of cancer. (2)
Medications That Increase Your Risk
A study looked at some medications which reportedly have side-effects that increase your risk of cancer. (5) These medications include Thiazolidinedione for diabetes mellitus type 2, Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) for blood pressure, and some diuretic drugs prescribed for the treatment of hypertension. Although it’s not certain that these drugs directly cause cancer, it’s good to talk with your doctor if you are concerned about your current or any future medication.
Exercise And Diet
A study suggests that the triple threat of obesity, lack of physical activity, and high levels of saturated dietary fat can increase your risk of all cancers. (1) That’s why current cancer prevention focuses on exercise and diet. Physical exercise can reduce sex hormone levels and potentially protect against breast cancer and foods with antioxidant properties such as garlic (8) and ginger (3) and nutrients such as fiber (6) can stop cell damage.
Although mammograms can detect breast cancer and they are recommended by doctors, they are not without risk. A study shows that mammograms have a 19% reduction of breast cancer deaths, but the risk of getting false positive results is 61% for 40- and 50-year-old women. (7)
Another study found that women who had a history of a false positive diagnosis were at risk of developing breast cancer 10 years after the screening. (4) This doesn’t mean that mammograms are useless, but they are not perfect at detecting and preventing breast cancer and whether you should get one or not should be based on your individual needs.
Cancer treatments are evolving and changing, but prevention should always be the first step. Cancer prevention is all about making informed decisions and tailoring your treatment to your personal needs, so start learning now to reduce your risk.
(1) Alegre, M. M., Knowles, M. H., Robison, R. A.,& O’Neill, K. L. (2013). Mechanics behind breast cancer prevention – focus on obesity, exercise and dietary fat. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 14(4), 2207-2212.
(2) Cancer Research UK. (June 1, 2015). Family history and inherited cancer genes.
(3) Danwilai, K., Konmun, J., Sripanidkulchai, B., & Subongkot, S. (2017). Antioxidant activity of ginger extract as a daily supplement in cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy: a pilot study. Cancer Management and Research, 31(9), 11-18.
(4) Henderson, L. M., Hubbard, R. A., Sprague, B. L., Zhu, W., & Kerlikowske, K. (2015). Increased Risk of Developing Breast Cancer after a False-Positive Screening Mammogram. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 24(12), 1882-1889.
(5) Ioannidis, J. P. A., Zhou, Y., Chang, C, Q., Schully, S. D., Khoury, M. J., & Freedman, A. N. (2014). Potential increased risk of cancer from commonly used medications: an umbrella review of meta-analyses. Annals of Oncology, 25(1), 16–23.
(6) Narita, S., Inoue, M., Saito, E., Abe, S. K., Sawada, N., Ishihara, J., & Tsugane, S. (2017). Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer defined by estrogen and progesterone receptor status: the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study. Cancer Causes & Control, 28(6), 569-578.
(7) Pace, L. E., & Keating, N. L. (2014). A systematic assessment of benefits and risks to guide breast cancer screening decisions. JAMA, 311(13), 1327-1335.
(8) Roy, N., Nazeem, P. A., Babu, T. D., Abida, P. S., Narayanankutty, A., Valsalan, R., . . . & Raghavamenon, A. C. (2017). EGFR gene regulation in colorectal cancer cells by garlic phytocompounds with special emphasis on S-Allyl-L-Cysteine Sulfoxide. Interdisciplinary Sciences: Computational Life Sciences, 1-8.