Can This Bra Detect Cancer?

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RENO, Nev. -- Bras can do a lot of miraculous things for women, but is detecting cancer one of them?

The Reno-based company has been getting international and national attention about its one-of-a-kind claim.

The idea is for women to put on a bra for about 12 hours, and based on the temperature of the breast tissue, it should be able to tell them, if they have breast cancer.

For 20 years, First Warning Systems has been working on a smart bra that will give an accurate screening for breast tissue abnormalities.

The company says the three trials have shown the bra can detect abnormalities with a 90 percent and higher accuracy rating in women of all ages.

Matthew Bernardis, the project manager of the smart bra, says the bra is

"We are identifying lesions or abnormalities up to six years or earlier than any imaging technology we currently have, can do...this is not diagnostic. We do not tell you that you absolutely have cancer and you need to go do something about it," he said.

The results from the bra come in four forms: normal, benign, suspected for breast tissue abnormalities, or probable for breast tissue abnormalities.

Thus far, a mammogram is the leading technology for women over 40 years old to screen for breast cancer.

The bra is based off the idea of thermography. IT uses a series of sensors embedded in the cups that can pick up temperature changes related to the disease. That information is later used to alert doctors of malignant cells.

"First Warning Systems takes that foundational science and takes it a step further," Bernardis said. "One in that we aren't just taking skin surface temperatures. we're looking deep into the breast and we're doing that through our sensor technology."

Breast cancer specialist say the bra is a little ahead of its time.

"Though the theory sounds plausible, there's really not enough clinical trial evidence to show that it's helpful," Bobbi Gillis, RN Renown Breast Program Coordinator said.

Even if the claims are true and tumors can be detected at their earliest stages, it is still unclear what doctors can do at that point.

"The American College of Radiology looked at thermography throughout the years and does not find it to be a screening tool that is helpful to detect breast cancer," Gillis said.

Patients will still have to go to a specialist to get properly diagnosed.

Mammograms in Northern Nevada are about 300 dollars without insurance and the bra will be about 1000 dollars at market price.

First Warning Systems is currently in its fourth trial of testing before they can submit the smart bra for FDA approval. The product will not be available in the United States until at least 2014.