Mobile phone tool that detects breast cancer wins innovation award

Mobile phone tool that detects breast cancer wins innovation award

Dotplot - Image James Dyson Awards

A mobile phone tool that detects breast cancer and which could save the lives of many women has won a James Dyson Award for innovation.

Announced on Wednesday, September 7, the “Dotplot” is the brainchild of Debra Babalola and Shefali Bohra.

Recent innovation design engineering graduates from the Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, the pair founded Dotplot after Ms Bohra discovered an unusual lump in her breast after a gym workout. Thankfully the lump turned out to be harmless but it did get the pair thinking.

They said: “We just started to talk to clinicians and we spoke to loads of women.  

“We realised that women are looking for a way that not only tells them what has to be done but also teaches them how and why breast self-checks and supposed to be conducted.”

Ms Babalola added: “We’re not replacing medical professionals, we are enabling women to be confident in the self-checks they are doing.”

They stress that the Dotplot, the mobile phone tool, is no substitute for the doctor but rather that the tool helps women to monitor their own health better, by regularly checking and monitoring physiological changes.

This they say is important as many women do not know how to check or do not carry out examinations regularly, despite breast cancer being the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

How does the tool work?

Users build a personalised picture of their physique using a mobile phone app. They then hold the Dotplot device to their chest where it undertakes a scan not dissimilar to a standard mammogram or ultrasound.

The device still has to undergo full regulatory device checks before it will be made available, however, the pair are confident that approval will be forthcoming.

Breast cancer detection

Cancer survival is all about early detection and this tool could be a game changer, with the chances of surviving stage one breast cancer 95 per cent. That drops to around 25 per cent by stage four.

Although breast cancer kills more than 11,000 women across the UK every year, around two-thirds of women aged under 35 do not regularly undertake self-examinations according to Cancer Research UK and CoppaFeel.

The innovation award

The Dotplot will now be entered into the international Dyson Award competition, with winners announced in mid-November. The award is a prestigious one, with 20 per cent of the winners going on to commercialise their inventions.

A mobile phone tool that detects breast cancer is a game changer, that will hopefully reach the market before too long.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at