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One in 12 women is at the risk of a breast abnormality, according to the World Health Organization. While regular systematised screening programmes have shown to reduce mortality to under 10 percent, India still sees almost 50 percent of deaths due to breast cancer. Early detection is key to survival, lower treatment cost and higher treatment effectiveness. And, technology has a major role to play here.
It was to bridge this gap, Dr Geetha Manjunath founded Niramai - Non-Invasive Risk Assessment with Machine Intelligence. "As the name suggests, the core technology of our solution is an artificial intelligence-led diagnostic platform that uses patented thermal image processing and machine learning algorithms for reliable and accurate breast cancer screening," says Dr Manjunath.Niramai's AI-led cancer detection test is called Thermalytix. It is radiation-free, portable, automated, affordable that can be conducted at hospitals or rural areas. "Our aim is to provide affordable high-quality breast healthcare for all," says Dr Manjunath adding how there is no test for screening women under 45 years of age when in India, almost 50 percent of the ladies detected with breast cancer are under 45.
Privacy of patients is of utmost importance at Niramai and unlike mammography, Niramai's imaging method is non-touch, not painful.
Niramai's test has been installed in over 50 hospitals and diagnostic centres in 14 Indian cities and has impacted 33,000 women to date. The enterprise has also conducted over 2000 free screening camps for rural and urban poor.
Calling herself an accidental entrepreneur, Manjunath reminisces how she never planned to start a start-up. However, being on the path for four years now, she considers this the "most fulfilling project" of her life. With a vision to create a cancer-free world and mission to propagate a universal solution to detect early-stage cancer and save lives, Manjunath feels, "we should come together to spread awareness about the need for regular breast cancer screening, its symptoms and risk factors."
What Made Dr Manjunath a Face of Vibrant Bharat?
"Timely detection of breast cancer increases the effectiveness of treatment and saves lives. Niramai’s breast cancer detection solution reinforces the role futuristic technologies can play in delivering high-quality health solutions and in increasing the penetration of healthcare.” Pallavi Bakhru, Partner, Grant Thornton Bharat LLP