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Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 04:22 AM IST

TEDxGateway 2018! Mihir Shah: Beating the cancer scourge with iBreastExam

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Mihir Shah is a computer engineer who co-founded UE LifeSciences Inc. (UELS) in 2009. The company has developed the iBreastExam, which uses sensors and material technology to detect breast cancer. His aim is to develop innovative, low-cost and clinically effective tools that help in bringing early detection of breast cancer to geographies where the incidence is rising and western model of screening cannot be adapted.

Early detection

“iBreastExam is an innovative, USFDA cleared breast examination device that is enabling early detection of breast cancer in a whole new way. It is a tiny device that fits in the palm of the hand to provide a painless, radiation-free, clinically effective and highly affordable way to identify even small lumps in the breast before it’s too late. Over 1,75,000 women have taken the test already in over 12 countries and it is recognised by WHO as an Innovative Health Technology.

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“Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst women globally, including in India. Every year, 1,60,000 women get diagnosed and over 87,000 die from it in India alone; half are below the age of 50. Breast cancer is highly treatable if detected early. At present, most women present at a late stage and so one out of two don’t survive past the initial five years. In contrast, in USA, 9 out of 10 women survive.”

Easy and accessible

“iBreastExam is ultra-portable, weighs less than a pound and can be taken anywhere. With minimal training, it can be used easily by community health workers, even social workers. Over 200 lay female workers have been trained in many different countries to use it. iBreastExam has already helped over 1,75,000 women from mega cities to extremely rural, and even, tribal areas.”

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Personal connection

“My partners, Matt Campisi, Bhaumik Sanghvi, and I have seen one too many of our friends and family members get diagnosed with breast cancer. Matt and I, both have, in fact, seen our mothers-in-law go through it. That personal experience opened our eyes to the broader challenge, at a global scale.”

Future plans

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“Disruptive engineering, and advanced science and technology are enabling us to consider developing early detection tools for other prominent diseases such as cervical cancer and oral cancer.”

How India can beat the scourge of cancer

“Every cancer is different with a variety of different challenges. Breast cancer happens to be highly treatable when diagnosed early. India must build easy, affordable and culturally acceptable mechanisms of early detection for its population. With iBreastExam, I can say with confidence that we can beat breast cancer in India.”

Achievements

He received the Anjani Mashelkar Inclusive  Innovation Award. In October 2016, the Maharashtra government had launched a first of its kind breast cancer campaign with iBreastExam to screen over 250,000 women.

(This 10th edition of the TEDxGateway sees over 20+ speakers from different walks of life sharing unique ideas that make them an inspiration the world over. Over 5500 attendees are slated to attend this feast of ideas and inspiration on December 2 at DOME @ NSCI Mumbai.)

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Published on: Friday, November 30, 2018, 03:29 PM IST
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