According to the GLOBOCAN database, throughout 2018 breast cancer was the main cause of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide, with a million new diagnosed cases and approximately 627,000 deaths. French statistics in 2017 painted a similar picture, with this form of cancer cited as the reason behind 11,883 deaths and 59,000 new cases. But these difficult statistics needn’t be so - when detected early, this form of pathology can often be cured in more than 90% of cases.
Currently, breast cancer prevention methods in France and Switzerland rely on patient’s individual and/or organized screening. Most commonly, mammography is used to assess patients’ health, and presently it still remains the most effective and scientifically proven method to detect cancerous tissues. However, despite this technique’s effectiveness it comes with various barriers, including access to care, the uncomfortable nature of the technique, and availability of appointments. Moreover, this method is expensive, requiring it to be performed by specialized doctors, which rules it out for large-scale screening programs in some countries. Therefore, the development of new screening method is a major need and issue within the public health sector.
The SBra project aims to study the feasibility of a solution combining non-invasive and non-intrusive technologies, based on the measurement of electrical and thermal properties of the mammary tissues. The ultimate objective is to design an effective, comfortable, portable and personalized system that is not only capable of detecting early stage breast cancer, but poses no risk to human health.
The SBra project aims to develop an intelligent bra, equipped with sensors, capable of effectively detecting this cancer early, comfortably and without risk to health. The device would be intended primarily for women considered to be at high risk, not those who are scheduled for a routine screening or check-up.
The project relies on French-Swiss cooperation involving CSEM, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et des Microtechniques (ENSMM), the Hôpital Nord Franche-Comté (HNFC), the Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard (UTBM), and the company ZTC Technology.