‘The self-examination allows detecting on time the Breast cancer’
Juan Ramón Garcia is the General Manager of Kavisha Pharma, a company from Alicante focused in the manufacture and commercialization of innovative products in the health sector. One of its main concerns is to contribute to the prevention of breast cancer. Because of that, a few years ago, they launched a glove for the breast self-examination called Sensifemme after being tested in the Biotechnology Department of the University of Alicante. The glove is made of a material that increases the touch sensitivity in 6 times. Thanks to this product, detect any anomaly of the breasts that cannot be noticed by a usual touch is possible.
Juan Ramon, how did the idea of manufacturing the Sensifemme glove come up?
That happened when I meet a person and we started to talk about some women that we know who had suffered from breast cancer, so from here come out the idea of this project. We started to do some prototypes and after done four or five trials- ‘I don´t remember’- we achieved to a prototype that fitted with the purpose that we were looking for.
Who has collaborated with you in this project?
We collaborate with a company that made the prototypes. It was a company not related with this kind of sector but they had the equipment to do the different prototypes. The Technological Centre of Toys, Aiju, also was involved. As well the University of Alicante took part. There was where we did the study to quantify how much increase the sensitivity of the fingers using the glove. We knew that sensitivity increases, but we wanted to know how much.
And I imagine that was after try with many types of materials …
The glove is made with a material that increases 6 times the touch sensitivity.
After the study in the University of Alicante, it was defined that the glove increases six times the touch sensitivity. This fact is what allows women detecting long before any breast anomaly.
Then, of course, we were improving the product, even once we were commercializing them; we still have been looking for other suppliers of raw materials of a best quality. In fact the supplier that we have now was during a year and a half working to offer us a better material than the one we had before and finally they obtained it. Our main aim was to find a Spanish supplier, we wanted a product 100% made in Spain. And finally we find him.
Do we have to take into account any special prevention for its use, can it cause any allergic reaction depending on the type of skin?
No, not at all. We have been commercializing it for several years in many countries and never have we received any complaint. Neither the plastic nor the oil inside it, that is what helps to give mobility when women perform the self-examination can cause any kind of allergic reaction.
We normally used to say joking that in the case that the material was perforated, something almost impossible because of its resistance, that if oil falls on the skin you will not have any problem. In this case, you just need to rub it until your skin absorbs it and you will obtain a fantastic skin. We looked for oil that do not produce any kind of reaction and that has similar features such the one which is used for babies. So in case it falls on somebody, it will be able to be used as a moisturizer and that is all.
According to the Spanish Association Against Breast Cancer in Spain around 25,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year, what is the same to say that 1 of each 8 women are more likely to suffer it. The high volume nowadays draws our attention….
Yes, but it is not just in Spain. I travel around the world introducing the product and I have realized that everywhere people is frighten of the amount of cases. Fortunately medicine improves and there are fewer dies because of that, but it is true that worldwide is highlighted that prevention is what can avoid that the amount continues increasing.
The awareness-raising in the prevention of breast cancer is essential
The WHO as well as almost all the health community are agreed in that self-examination is very important, in addition to the periodic examinations and the mammograms. The self-examination is what is going to facilitate women to detect cancer earlier than when it will be irreversible and that the breast should be surgically removed, or chemotherapy or radiotherapy be given, or any treatment that tire physically or psychologically not just women but also all the family.
In order to prevent that, and taking into account that we do not desire that any women to have it, so the earlier is detected, the better the prognosis. And because of that we think that our glove is very important.
Could be said that breast cancer detection on time guarantees its recovery?
It does not mean that it is a guarantee, but that guarantees increase. There are people that have cured of very advanced cancer, that depends on other factors, the strength and yearning to live they have or that the treatment may work perfectly. Increasingly people talk about personalize the treatments because not all of them work in the same way for everyone.
But what it is clear and everybody is agreed to that the sooner it is detected, the higher is the percentage to get over it. Not only higher, also people are going to recover much better. There are women that will suffer forever because they need to be taken fifteen medicines per day, they have to go to a maintenance treatment and they never are at 100%.
If cancer is detected sooner, the treatment is lighter, which affect less physically and psychologically and in two or three years the patient is recovered.
For how long have Sensifemme being commercialized?
Approximately for nine or ten years.
You are distributing the product around the world, in how many countries are you commercializing it?
Sensifemme is distributed in more than twenty countries.
Well look in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey and I think that I do not forget anyone.
Do you count on any type of statistics about the number of cases in which cancer has been detected using it?
We do not have these figures because it is very difficult. You should take into account that the woman who performs the self-examination and notice a lump, then she goes to see the doctor, they perform different tests on her, if has cancer and is treated, in any moment she would thing about call the distributor and say him ‘well, I have had cancer’. She will have so many concerns that it will be very difficult for her call us to thank us.
How can I trust on it? Which cases can support the efficiency of the Glove Sensifemme?
We know about some cases, for example, I am going to explain you one that took place in Brazil. A woman bought a glove and she detects a lump using the glove and she did not detect anything without using the glove. She went to visit her gynecologist and he noticed the same using the glove. The patient had cancer and she was treated and recovered easily, the doctor was the one who told us about it, she didn´t think about that, because at the moment someone tell you that you have cancer you don’t think about you should tell that to the manufacturer of the product that has helped you.
The gynecologist was a relative of the distributor because of that we were aware of this case. As a result, this doctor pertains as well to an organism directly linked to the government and thanks to that it was thought to introduce the glove nationally through a campaign of breast cancer prevention. A study in the most important hospital of Sao Paulo was performed with more than 200 women by the State.
In Mexico something similar happened, and the own government performed a study with more than 2500 women and the results of both studies (Brazil and Mexico) were fantastic. In fact, in Brazil and mainly in Mexico, where they took the study very seriously, every year the glove is present in the national campaign of breast cancer prevention. The glove is promoted by the own Government and every year they give free samples in all the events that they organized. This action is perfect to prevent because women once they have this tool, they will remember to perform every month the self-examination.
These studies show that out glove has an important use, not just to prevent, as well to educate them, because women and men should be educated in order to understand the importance of prevention. We are in this step at the moment.
You have even designed an app for mobile phones offering information about Breast Cancer and with an interactive section ¿What can people do with this app?
Through the app women will be able to register the results of their monthly examination.
The app is not just informative, it counts on a section with which women can work, is a way to be more involved and become aware of. For example, there is a section in which you can find a picture of a women breast in order to mark later in each performed exploration the exact point in which she feels the anomaly and to not forget once she visits her doctor. Because of course, when they go to see the doctors, they usually
are as confused and worried that they do not remember where they felt the anomaly. In this way, they do not forget it because they have it saved in their mobiles.
Precisely we have been talking with an Arabic distributor that works in different areas of Saudi Arabia and we were talking about that by coincidence the week before we had just uploaded it in Arabic. He is very happy because he thinks that it will be very useful.
Do you think that the degree of awareness of Spanish women is increasing in relation with the
importance of the breast self-
Of course, people are carrying out many different actions, because normally women are scared of the possibility of taking the test and then see that the result is positive. Thanks to the statement of some famous women that have gone through it and then they have said: ‘well if I had detected it a year ago maybe I did not go through it’; popular races organised by AECC and some others institutions, women are gradually becoming more conscientious.
But there is another topic that more and more people are talking about. It is not a problem just for women, but also for men. Normally as women have more hormones than men and in addition they have them very near the breasts, they have more possibilities. What it is clear is that breast cancer is not just a problem for women but for men as well. Because of that it is being recommended to men to perform the self-examination too.
Where can I get the glove Sensifemme? Is it possible to buy it in any pharmacy?
The breast self-examination glove Sensifemme is available in the pharmacies.
So you can ask for it, and if the pharmacy doesn´t have it or they don´t know it, you can tell them that it is available in HEFAME. All pharmacies can request it to HEFAME and they will deliver it quickly. (HEFAME is aviable only in Spain)
How much is it?
We usually recommend the price of 35€.
For how long can we use it without losing its touch sensitivity?
It is reusable. Self-examination should be performed once a month, approximately six or seven days after the menstruation, because it is when breasts return to their natural state and they are not very taut. As you just need to do it once a month and it is reusable for three years, we would say that it has 36 uses, what is the same to say that each use costs less than a euro.
Date of interview: 14 May, 2016
Source of the original text: http://www.segurosparaestarseguro.com/autoexploracion-mamaria-sensifemme/