Shah Rukh Khan: Computer engineer Mihir Shah, while doing research on a serious illness, realized that the world is divided in two halves. One where it is easy to detect and treat the illness and the other half, where unfortunately we live, where it is so difficult to even identify the illness.
We now welcome on TED Talks India Nayi Soch, Indian computer engineer and innovator from Pennsylvania, USA: Mihir Shah. He has tried to bridge the gap between women living in these two diverse halves of the world. Put your hands together for Mr. Mihir Shah.
(Cheers and applause)
Mihir Shah: Cancer is not a death sentence. Today I am going to talk to you about a certain cancer, which, it is believed, is most prevalent in India. Breast cancer. It is estimated that in India, one in 28 women are likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Since this form of cancer is generally detected late, we are able to save only one out of two patients. In developed countries, a mammogram machine is used for early detection of breast cancer. We need a radiologist doctor for this. And India has just one such doctor for every 100,000 patients. So what can be done to ensure that every woman can have access to early detection?
For the past seven years, finding an answer to this question has been my goal. I have read many research papers and books on cancer. My research yielded three points of information. Firstly, early detection should be done by women health workers who are reaching out and serving a large number of women. Secondly, the solution should be such that it reaches every village, every society. And thirdly, this new invention should not involve any pain or radiation.
During this time of my search, innovators from Drexel University in America, from where I did my computer engineering, developed a new invention: A new sensor technology. The knot of breast cancer is hard, like the seed of the Neem tree. This sensor can detect that hardness. It can detect that tumor, hidden in the muscles of the breast. On the basis of this sensor, our team designed a machine, iBreastExam. This is a battery operated wireless machine which can be easily taken anywhere. And in just five minutes, a woman health worker can detect the health of the breast. It causes no pain, nor emits any radiation. And the cost is much lower than a mammogram. It has been observed in clinical trials that iBreastExam is 19 percent more accurate than a doctor's physical examination. It has also been observed that it is 86 percent more likely to detect a knot in the breast than a mammogram and it’s specificity is 89 percent higher.
On switching it on, the machine connects itself to a tablet and starts conducting the test. The nurse then moves it to different areas of the breast and checks in this manner. If a knot is detected, the tablet shows a red dot immediately. And within minutes, test results can be seen on the spot. If the test results are positive, the red area can be further checked through ultrasound to determine if a biopsy is needed or not.
We have reached 60,000 women with this breast check up and have detected 50 breast cancer cases. And I am happy to share that with the help of the governments of Maharashtra and Rajasthan, we will be able to take this invention to hundreds of thousands of women.
Just a few months before my wedding, my mother-in-law was detected with breast cancer, and she has in the true sense been my inspiration for this journey. She is well today, but I know eight such women who were detected with breast cancer, four of them are no more. So even at my home, one of the two women could not survive. We have to change these numbers. We have to prove that cancer is not a death sentence.