Breast cancer is one of the most invasive cancers in women and the leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer. If diagnosed early it’s treatable, or else it turns out to be fatal. Even when it can be treated, it’s horrific to realize one woman loses her life for breast cancer every 13 minutes in India. The main reason for it is ignoring the early symptoms hence it turns out to be chronic. In no time the patient reaches the 4th stage of Cancer therefore they end up losing his/her life. When cancer advances to the fourth stage, it’s no longer curable. Consequently, cancer ends up spreading to other parts of the body resulting in a lot of damage.
What is NIRAMAI?
NIRAMAI Health Analytics is a Bangalore-based deep-tech start-up addressing critical healthcare problems through automated solutions. Ms. Geetha Manjunath is the founder and the CEO of NIRAMAI. Their mission is to create a Universal Cancer Screening Method so that can save lives. NIRAMAI stands for “Non-Invasive Risk Assessment with Machine Intelligence”. They have developed a unique software-based medical device to detect carcinoma at a way earlier stage than traditional methods or self-examination for breast cancer.
Story of NIRAMAI
Geetha Manjunath is a computer scientist and an entrepreneur. She has worked with different Multinational organizations. She basically works with AI and sees how it will change the world in the next few years. Her cousin’s sister who was in her 30s was diagnosed with breast cancer. It affected their entire family and she passed away in just two years. This affected Geetha a lot and she read a lot about breast cancer. She started exploratory projects by using AI for the detection of breast cancer. In a year and a half, the results were really good. That was the time when she got an opportunity to head the research team of XEROX in India and her ongoing project was not relevant to the company she worked in. After a lot of thinking, she quit her job and NIRAMAI was born.
Everyone in India cannot afford the treatment. Regular screening is not so cost-efficient. Mammography is a method of breast cancer detection. As X-rays are used, one can’t have the screening every 6 months. Overexposure to these rays can cause cancer itself. The screening is made more affordable and accessible. They have a bus called “Pink Bus” which they take to rural areas so that women there can access it.
How does NIRAMAI help to Detect Breast Cancer?
So far, they have screened over 20,000 women who have had symptoms of breast cancer. They have gone to different remote places in Karnataka. All they need is to set up their instruments in a room and they are ready to go the next day. They conduct weekly camps. It’s expanded in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Almost all government hospitals in and around Bangalore have access to it. They have won a lot of awards for this new innovation. It comes under the top 100 AI start-ups in the World. Only team ever in India to make it to the list. It started as a dream of Geetha Manjunath and now is a life-changing innovation in the lives of several women in India. More power to her.
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