Now a bra is more than just a woman's undergarment. A team of researchers in Colombia has come up with an upgraded version: a bra with special sensors that can detect breast cancer.

This everyday undergarment commonly worn throughout the day has inspired researchers from Colombia’s Universidad Nacional to think of a clever yet simple way to convert it into a tool that can provide warnings about a developing breast cancer.

To detect malignant cells, the team used temperature signatures.

The bra is fitted with two infrared sensors that monitor and record each breast’s temperature. According to one of the researchers, Maria Camila Cortes Arcila, “when cells foreign to the mammary glands are present, the body requires more blood to circulate in the area, thus, the temperature rises.”

The bra has been under study since June, and has been used in trial with 189 women, 166 of whom are healthy, 12 who showed breast-related pathology, four who already have cancer, and seven who had undergone a mastectomy.

As breast cancer becomes increasingly difficult to treat in the later stages, the bra is meant to sense early warning signs, like temperature fluctuations, to know if further evaluation is needed.

The researchers stressed that this innovation is not meant to “replace the doctor” but should function only as a preventive or early detection tool.

Currently, the researchers are working to develop the bra to make it affordable commercially. MIMS