Access to breast cancer information is especially crucial for women in Africa and the Caribbean, as well as for women of color in North America. This is because most Black women lack the resources to explore prevention, treatment, or cure.
According to statistics, breast cancer is the primary cause of cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 129,000 new cases identified in 2020, according to the World Health Organization. A female robotics engineer in Nigeria has designed a smart bra that she claims can detect breast cancer early to aid improve breast cancer detection in Sub-Saharan Africa, where women find it difficult to access screening facilities.
For four years, Kemisola Bolarinwa and her team at Next Wear Technology, a wearables company based in Abuja, Nigeria, worked on the smart bra. They want to get it ready for sale by July of this year.
My beloved aunt died of breast cancer in 2017 at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria because it was diagnosed late,” Bolarinwa said to SciDev.Net on what inspired her to develop the bra. She said that while in her aunt’s ward at the hospital, she saw women of different age groups, even teenagers, groaning in the pain of breast cancer.
“That’s when I realized I needed to do something to help combat the sickness,” she explained.
According to SciDev.Net, the prototype includes ultrasound technology as well as mobile and web apps that can show where a tumor is on the breasts.
“The outcome will reveal whether the tumor is benign [harmless] or malignant [destructive],” Bolarinwa explained. “The smart bra must be worn for a maximum of 30 minutes on the breasts for the results to be seen.” The software also has an interface for transmitting the results to a doctor.”
According to the Nigerian robotics engineer, she and her team ran a local experiment and achieved approximately 70% accuracy. They are currently aiming for 95-97 percent accuracy. Women may no longer need to go to the doctor to get screened for breast cancer thanks to Bolarinwa’s smart bra, which they can use from the comfort of their own home.
“If they can discover cancer early, they will be safe, and many will not have to die,” she said.