Feature Story

Breast cancer detection in a bra: IoT's powerful life-saving potential

by Karen Walker


A new documentary shines the light on how IoT is providing hope in the fight against cancer.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we live. Connected devices like our phones, watches, lights, and even televisions are communicating to make our lives better. My thermostat warms my home before I arrive, my light bulbs detect when I've pulled into my driveway and switch on, and my watch can secure my home before I go to bed.

But IoT has an even bigger promise – and it's about more than convenience. Devices and people are connecting to save lives. Healthcare organizations are connecting doctors to their patients through smart devices remotely – in the comfort of their own homes. A remarkable example of this is a bra that detects breast cancer.

Every year, millions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Though there have been tremendous advancements in treatment, tens of thousands of women in the U.S. die from this horrible disease. Early detection is critical. That's where the iTBra comes into play.

IoT has an even bigger promise – and it's about more than convenience. Devices and people are connecting to save lives.The iTBra was pioneered by scientist and entrepreneur Rob Royea. It's a wearable smart device that detects temperature changes in breast tissue. This data helps healthcare providers assess the risk of breast cancer, even in women with dense tissue – a factor that can often make detection with traditional mammograms difficult.

When I first talked about this technology a few years ago, the device was still a prototype. Today, it's patented and undergoing clinical validation trials and is expected to get approval later this year.  

The development of this device has been captured in a documentary titled DETECTED. I'm thrilled to say that the film has been accepted into the Independent Film Festival of Boston. It premieres tonight and runs through May 3. If you're in the Boston area, I encourage you to attend the festival and watch the premiere. You'll also have a chance to watch the film in Los Angeles on June 4 for National Cancer Survivors' Day at the Laemmle Theaters. If you can't make it to either of these, the film will also be available online later this calendar year. Be sure to connect with Cisco on our social channels to follow the story.

We are living in amazing times, where connected devices can help save lives. The iTBra is a beacon of hope that solidifies my belief that technology is here to improve our lives  and help us overcome some of the world's greatest challenges – especially in healthcare.