Reporting Mary Kay Kleist
(CBS) – A new screening device may soon be on the market that can detect breast cancer earlier and more easily than ever.
As CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist reports, it is a cancer-detecting bra.
The new technology may help save the lives of women.
Twenty years ago, Nedra Lindsay agreed to be part of a medical trial of an earlier version of the device. She says her participation in the trial saved her life.
“The device showed proof positive that I did have breast cancer,” she says.
She had a mastectomy and today is cancer-free.
Today, the more compact model of a cancer-detecting bra is called the First Warning System. Women wear it for at least 12 hours.
Right now, doctors depend on the still images from mammograms.
But for younger women, a tiny cancerous mass would likely not be detected until their first screening at age 40. And in some women with dense breast tissue, cancers can be almost invisible.
“Cancer is white on a mammogram, and density of the breast is white, so it’s like white on white,” says Dr. Margaret Chen of Columbia University.
Developers say the cancer bra could pick up the abnormality early.
As promising as it sounds, not all doctors are ready to recommend it.
“I work with mammograms and MRIs and ultra sound, and I’m sure that technology has been proven, but unless they can prove to me that this will detect or save lives, then I’m not willing to support it,” says
Dr. Charlene Sennett of the University of Chicago Medicine.
Lindsay is convinced the device helped saved her life.
“I am one lucky person,” she says.
Developers estimate that the device will cost around $200. You would get it from your doctor with a prescription. It’s too early to tell if it would be covered by insurance. The makers expect FDA approval in about a year.