In this month of breast cancer awareness worldwide, it's predicted that more than 23.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed globally each year by 2030. One of the most fear-provoking cancers is breast cancer, which has been killing a million women a
In Thailand, breast cancer is the number-one cancer killing women, averaging seven women dying per week. More than 19 million Thai women are now in risk of having breast cancer.
Such statistics on the occurrence of breast cancer are terrifying, but incredible strides across all forms of cancer are taking place. In many cases, they come in the form of early detection through ground-breaking technology and the Internet of Everything (IOE).
Cisco and Cyrcadia Health are involved in the development of an “ iTBra”, a personal screening tool to monitor a woman’s body temperature to determine if she is at risk from breast cancer and can detect abnormalities i.e. tiny temperature changes in breast tissue. These tiny temperature fluctuations may indicate breast cancer at an early stage when it can be treated.
The iTBra is made up of patches placed under a normal bra that collect up to 12 hours of normal and abnormal cellular activity associated with breast cancer. It works with dense breast tissue, which is difficult to detect by traditional x-ray techniques such as mammography and often results in false negatives during mammography.
Cyrcadia Health has developed a bra equipped with sensors that read cellular temperatures, transmit data in real-time to a patient database, and alert both doctors and patients to abnormal readings via smartphone. A smartphone or other mobile device can receive these alerts and share them with a big data /predictive analytics database on the back end. Data is automatically transmitted from a sensor-equipped bra to a secure patient database.
As a result, the iTBra holds the potential to alert women and their doctors to early signs of breast cancer, allowing the medical community to more quickly develop treatment plans. Currently, it has been undergoing medical trials and is expected to reduce the number of unnecessary breast biopsies by up to 50 per cent, especially among women with dense breast tissue on whom mammography doesn’t work well. Used as a monthly breast screening system, iTBra will provide thousands of women with early warnings of cancer formation, enabling doctors to implement treatment plans to save lives in time.
Cisco has been following Cyrcadia Health’s efforts closely as their work is a major example of how innovation, made possible by the Internet of Everything, can change and ultimately save lives.
Cisco is chronicling the story of the iTBra by funding a documentary scheduled for release later this year. From the idea of the iTBra – to its development and quest to bring it to market – will show how the Internet of Everything and connected technology are transforming healthcare. It tells the story of thousands of hours of research by an entrepreneur who dreams of a new way to
use the Internet of Everything to
save lives. It also shows the trials of bringing experimental healthcare products to the marketplace.
More important, is the story of how the connected health industry – poised to be a billion market by 2018 – could change everything we know about medicine.
iTBra is only one example of the Internet of Everything at work in the healthcare industry. In the next three to five years, the number of health-related connected devices will soar. The globally connected health market will grow at an annual growth rate of 33 percent by 2019. Shortly, data from health-connected devices will be transmitted directly to a patient’s physician, who can develop a customised health programme designed specifically for the individual’s needs and lifestyle.
When people ask why IoE matters, there are many reasons on offer. Probably, the human element is the most important reason, as the work is to make IoE more than just a game changer and into a lifesaver.
Vatsun Thirapatarapong is managing director of Cisco in Thailand and Indochina.