A team of researchers from Colombia's Universidad Nacional say they have designed a bra that helps detect breast cancer by sensing temperature fluctuations that may indicate the presence of anomalous cells.

The system aims to innovate in the prevention of a disease whose late diagnosis makes treatment more difficult and reduces the chances of a good outcome, the university said in a statement.

The bra contains software that monitors and records via two infrared sensors both breasts' temperature, providing important information to detect possible abnormal cells.

"When cells foreign to the mammary glands are present, the body requires more blood to circulate in the area where the invasive cells are, and thus the temperature rises," student Maria Camila Cortes Arcila, a member of the team, said.

Students and electronic engineering professors at the university in Manizales, a city in central Colombia, have been working since last June on the project, which has been tested with 189 women, of whom 166 were healthy, 12 showed some mammary gland pathology other than cancer, four had cancer and seven had undergone a mastectomy.

The trial tested the sensors' effectiveness and the differences in temperature between women diagnosed with breast cancer and other volunteers.

The researchers said they did not want "to do the physician's job," but instead were trying to improve prevention with a bra that they will now try to develop and sell at a price "affordable for any woman."

The statement said there was an initial prototype of the new bra and researchers were working on making it better. 

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