We’ve previously seen bras that monitor a wearer’s heart rate, double as an emergency facemask, or help women search for a husband. But the BSE (breast self exam) bra being developed by First Warning Systems looks to be the best bit of added functionality for the support undergarment we’ve come across yet. Using sensors integrated into the cups, the bra looks for the slight variations in temperature on the surface of the breast that can indicate a tumor growing within.

First Warning Systems has been awarded a number of U.S. patents for its breast surface temperature technology that would continuously monitor a woman’s breasts when embedded within a bra. The minute variations in temperature the bra’s sensors pick up is due to the growth of blood vessels that develop in the breast to supply cancerous tissue with blood. The company says these blood vessels create a distinctive heat signature that allows the tumor to be detected years before the tumor becomes visible in a traditional mammogram or even an MRI.

The company says trials have shown the bra offers a far greater level of accuracy than is possible with traditional mammograms, with an accuracy rate of over 90 percent returned in three clinical trials involving 650 participants of all ages. The bra also offers continuous non-invasive monitoring with data from the sensors transferred to a wireless module built into the device that sends information to a computer or mobile device for uploading to the internet for analysis.

First Warning Systems plans to commercialize the BSE bra in Europe next year, with the U.S to follow in 2014 pending FDA approval. Pricing details are yet to be announced.

The video below describes how the BSE bra works.

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