When Julián Ríos Cantú realized he may have lost his mom after her doctors misdiagnosed her, he decided to help other women take control of their health.
Julián Ríos Cantú's mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor. She was first diagnosed when he was eight years old. Then, when he was 13. The second time around, though her doctors had found cancerous lumps in her breasts, they were wrongly deemed malignant. It was only after a second examination that Cantú and his mother discovered that she would need a mastectomy in order to recover from the otherwise fatal illness. While his mom was able to get the medical procedure done just in time, Cantú realized that this may not be the reality for numerous other women who don't have the privilege of affordable and accessible healthcare, TechCrunch reports.
The young teen, only 18 years old at the time, explained in an interview that standard screenings missed the lumps in his mother's breasts during her second diagnosis because her high breast density obscured them from the X-ray. Nonetheless, she was able to recover after undergoing a mastectomy — which got Cantú thinking. "At that moment, I realized that if that was the case for a woman with private insurance and a prevention mindset, then for most women in developing countries, like Mexico where we’re from, the outcome could’ve not been a mastectomy but death," he shared.
Thus, Eva was born. Eva is a "bio-sensing bra insert" that creates a thermal map of a patient's breasts through the use of thermal sensing and artificial intelligence. Because, in general, abnormal temperatures and tumor growth share a correlation, these inserts can help in the early detection of cancerous growths and simplifies the self-screening process. In addition to this, Cantú's technology also makes self-detection far more accurate.
At present, patients who face the risk of breast cancer have very limited options for early detection. Those under 45, for example, cannot receive mammograms due to radiation exposure. On the other hand, for those over the age of 45, frequent mammograms can be an expensive and medically unviable affair. Eva solves for both these issues. Since the technology does not emit any type of radiation, women of any age are eligible to use it. Furthermore, those at risk finally have the ability to regularly monitor the health of their breasts and catch any abnormalities on time to act fast.
The company has performed clinical trials on over 2,000 women in collaboration with health institutions in Cantú's home country, the Mexican Republic. Currently, the product is available for use at certified Eva Clinics. The official website reads, "Eva's technology is approved by the FDA as an adjunct method for breast cancer detection in section 884.2980 Teletermographic Systems. Similarly, Eva Clinic operates under the highest ethical standards, strictly following the Official Mexican Standard NOM-041-SSA2-2011, for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, control, and surveillance of breast cancer."
Cantú has come a long way from his initial idea, inspired by his mother's cancer battle. His innovative technology has earned him Mexico’s Presidential Medal for Science and Technology. In the summer of 2018, he received a $120,000 investment from Y Combinator in order to fund his project. Additionally, his company won first place in SXSW’s International Pitch Competition and was named one of "30 Most Promising Businesses of 2018" by Forbes Magazine Mexico. As he moves forward and makes Eva more accessible to women everywhere, Cantú is on his way to revolutionizing breast cancer detection.