In India, one of the most common cancers that affect women is breast cancer with one in every 22 women suffering from it. Statistics show that post-cancer survival rates are just 60 per cent for Indian women as compared to 80 per cent for their American counterparts. Further, every four minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in India. And in every 13 minutes, a woman dies of breast cancer in India. But what’s contributing to these numbers? The answer is crisp and simple: poor diagnosis and awareness.
To fill this void of poor diagnosis, Niramai Health Analytix, a Bangalore based deep-tech start-up has come up with innovative technology. The company uses artificial intelligence to detect breast cancer. And, the technology has been made affordable for every woman. “From 2013 to 2015, my colleagues and I were working on developing artificial intelligence for the healthcare sector. Keeping in mind the breast cancer statistics, we finally developed a technology to detect it”, says Nidhi Mathur, one of the founders of NIRAMAI. The name of this startup itself defines the technology the company has developed i.e. ‘Non-Invasive Risk Assessment with Machine Intelligence.
“Niramai is a service that uses non-touch, radiation-free, non-invasive technology to detect breast cancer using artificial intelligence. And the device is highly affordable”, explains Mathur. What Niramai does is to scan the breast using a device, similar to thermal screening. The data collected from this device is then transferred to a cloud-based AI software which analyses it to confirm the presence or absence of cancer. “Breast cancer diagnosis procedures are highly invasive and often painful, both for potent and non-potent patients. But with Niramai, that’s never a problem”, adds Mathur.
Yet another technology that is leading by example is a bra. Developed by Dr Seema, the bra can be worn just like a normal one. “It has sensors which can detect the abnormalities, if any, present in the breast. The bra is connected to a computer for this purpose”, elucidates Dr Seema. Also, a woman doesn’t have to worry about their privacy when using this life-saving bra, as it does its work with full clothes on, which is unlike mammograms. “Mammograms are costly. But one can purchase this bra for around Rs. 450-500. And when it starts getting promoted on a national level, it would only cost around Rs. 40, which is way cheaper than a normal bra”, remarks Dr Seema.
Technologies like these can completely revamp the façade and the core of breast cancer detection and diagnosis. Nearly 90 per cent of the deaths due to breast cancer are caused because of lack of early diagnosis and poor prognosis. According to data, if women are made more aware of early-stage cancer detection, nearly 80 per cent of the chances of death can be reduced and the survival rates can be augmented.