Did you know that an estimated 1,62,468 women in India were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018? However, breast cancer does not have to be a death sentence, the gap lies in the need for early detection.
Currently, mammography is the go-to breast cancer screening method. Mammography detects whether or not there are small lumps in the breast by compressing the breasts between two plates and passing X-rays through it. Imagine an X-ray of a hand: the skeleton appears white. This is because anything that is hard is stopped by the X-ray and appears white. That is the principle behind finding small lumps in the breast. But in younger women, there's a lot of fibrous glandular tissue and hormonal activity so the whole breast appears white normally. As it is not possible to find a white spot in a white zone, the mammography technique does not work on women under 45 years of age.
It may not even work on women above 45 years of age as well as the lumps are best spotted when big which means that the cancer is already at a later stage. The efficacy of treatment at later stages is costlier and more uncertain. Furthermore, the mentality that ‘we will not get cancer’ leads to ‘so why should we spend 2500 rupees (or 30 $)?’ All of these issues combined result in breast cancer cases in India going undetected.
A cousin’s fatal brush with breast cancer served as a wake-up call for Dr. Geetha Manjunath, an AI researcher and graduate from the Indian Institute of Science. She began reading about breast cancer and coincidentally met an imaging specialist who pointed her in the direction of thermal imaging. She spent a year working on thermal imaging software for breast cancer detection then quit her job when she realized that her innovation had the potential to save thousands of lives. She founded Niramai Health Analytix which has been creating a buzz because of its radiation-free, accessible, and affordable breast cancer screening innovation.
Impressed with the screening’s non-invasive, radiation-free, pain-free technology that is performed by a Niramai-trained female technician at the comfort of your home in under 20 minutes, we at Miyara have partnered with Niramai. If you are interested in knowing more or booking the test for you or a family member, sign up here.
How does the Niramai screening work?
As opposed to mammography’s use of X-ray, this technology uses thermal sensing. It is similar to the temperature measuring instruments that are seen everywhere because of COVID but has a much higher resolution and sensitivity. The screening device is kept in front of the person and within minutes, the whole body’s temperature is measured. Cancer cells are dividing at a much faster rate compared to the rest of the cells. This irregular and faster division results in an increase in temperature. So the cancer cell itself is at a much higher temperature when compared to the rest. The surrounding areas’ vascular activity increases too. This temperature variation is analyzed using a smart, artificial intelligence software that the Niramai team has developed.