Preventing and diagnosing breast cancer in Nepal with BreMO
A mobile application developed by Sweekrity Kanodia, a PhD student at CRI
09 09 2021
Preventing and diagnosing breast cancer in Nepal with BreMO

In Nepal, four women are diagnosed with breast cancer every minute, and one die because of it, making it the most common cancer amongst women, globally and second most common cancer overall.

Aware of it, Sweekrity Kanodia, a FIRE PhD Student at CRI, who, in order to help prevent and diagnose breast cancer in Nepal, came up with the idea of creating the mobile application BreMo (Breast Health in Nepal Monitoring & Awareness).

All her research and development of the application was built around open source. In addition to a desire for accessibility for all, Sweetkrity acts on prevention directly in the field, by raising women's awareness of the use of BreMo.

🎙️ Interview with this brilliant student full of altruistic ambition.

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Hello Sweekrity,

Can you introduce yourself ?

I am Sweekrity Kanodia, a FIRE PhD student at CRI Paris. I was born and raised in a small village in Nepal close to the Indian border. Growing up I found myself very intrigued by biotechnology and the vastness of this field. As I got deeper into this sea, I realized its potential in improving the lives of people. Having lived the difficulty in seeking medical care (I was often sick as a child) and observing poverty all around me, I wanted to develop frugal medical technologies. This is how my journey started.

Can you tell us more about the project ?  How was it born ?

My project aims towards improving breast health in Nepal using open digital and wearable innovations. 2 aspects of project includes :

  • Open source app to educate women about breast health and breast cancer : this is a platform with source code that is readily accessible and which can be modified or enhanced by anyone.
  • Open source remote, portable, monitoring system to monitor breasts monthly

Can you explain what #Open-source is and why was it so important for your project ?

“Open source” means accessible to all with no individual rights. I am in support of open source or open science because any innovations and improvements in science and technology belong to all. Having rights and monopoly over it makes it less accessible and affordable. If health innovations become expensive then it will not come to use for half of the world population dwelling in poverty and that fails to achieve the motive of health innovations and reforms.

What was the rôle of CRI in the building process of your project ?

CRI has been there with me since the beginning of this project. Also, because CRI is a research collaboratory, I had the chance to be mentored and supported by Dr Jean Christophe Thalabard - Experienced Emeritus Professor, Dr Kevin Lhoste - MakerLab Project Manager, and Dr Bastian Greshake Tzovaras - Director of Research and Long Term Fellow at CRI.

They also helped me get in touch with experts in the field like Dr Fabien Reyal - Doctor in Translational research, to develop this project further and apply for the FIRE PhD program. Dr Ariel Lindner - CRI Co-Founder & Research Director,  and Dr Amodsen Chotia - CRI Labs Scientific Director, also really motivated me and supported me through it. MakerLab and GameLab at CRI are still helping me to develop the monitoring device and app respectively.

What are the next steps for the development of your project, the app... ?

Next step is to work with App developers and make BreMo a reality. Once the first version of the app is ready, I want to take it to the field. I will train women health volunteers in Nepal about how to use BreMo and through them teach the community about BreMo. I will also do a survey via questionnaire before training and 6 months after to understand the shift in knowledge due to BreMo. This will help me improve the app for the target population. I also would like to scale it up to other developing countries.

What are your plans for the future ?

Through the course of my PhD, I would like to give rise to a social enterprise focused on breast health in developing countries. This organization will provide support to women with cancer education and treatments. BreMo will be the foundation of this organization. Alongside, I would like to continue UX/UI design, a new found interest while designing BreMo.

Thank you very Much Sweekrity ;)

Links :

📲 https://www.figma.com/proto/hKc6jDPTv1afhI0yIt8lz5/desktop-version?scaling=scale-down&node-id=4%3A2

💻 https://projects.directory/projects/2TfVEwGg/summary

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