Why We’re Here
This is a bit informal—it should be. mReveal doesn’t exist for formality, it exists because there’s an issue. A problem that pervades and haunts many women. It shouldn’t even be a problem. That’s why we exist, that’s why we’re doing this, that’s why we’re here for the long haul.
Breast cancer. In 2017, close to 270,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed. In this metric, a wretched adversary makes it mark. The false positive. According to Elizabeth Fernandez of the University of California, San Fransisco:
“During a decade of receiving mammograms, more than half of cancer-free women will be among those summoned back for more testing because of false-positive results, and about one in 12 will be referred for a biopsy.”
This is unacceptable. Mammograms have their limitations. Currently the accuracy of mammograms floats around 80–84%. Meaning the other 16–20% are either false positives or false negatives. Unnecessary surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or worst: uncaught metastasis. There is no window, no light at the end of the tunnel, no vision for improvement, no hope. That accuracy statistic will remain stagnant. Mammograms won’t magically improve themselves. That’s why we created something that does. If you’re reading this, you likely know the story behind mReveal or what we do, if not, have a little read.
mReveal was originally born out of my research and implementation for the Intel ISEF fair. I knew I wished to use my newfound skill of machine learning (on both the practical, programming side and theoretical, too) and leverage it against some pertinent issue in health. That’s when I discovered the sad reality of mammograms and breast cancer. Long story short, my Science Fair run ended with a Second Place finish at the Delaware Valley Science Fair. I didn’t become an Intel ISEF Finalist, but oddly enough, my mind wasn’t on that. My mind was on unexpected remarks I received from the judges (some of whom represented health enterprises).
“Why haven’t you pitched this to GE?”
“You should show this to Penn Medicine. Have you done that yet?”
“If you don’t make it to Intel ISEF, you have a million-dollar piece of technology on your hands”
“This will save millions—of dollars and lives”
Suffice to say, I was inspired. It was a busy month (TEDxTalk to deliver and school, of course) and I didn’t revisit the idea until the beginning of May. By then, I decided mReveal should be in a new arena. I took the idea and showcased it to a sea of individuals at Technologies to Watch Showcase in Wilmington, DE where it received praised from doctors, startup founders, and investors.
This is why we’re here. It isn’t because we were determined to create a startup, develop a run-of-a-mill website, and go chasing investors for a new “Uber but for [x].” We’re here because, somehow, someway, others saw something in my research and implementation (that I didn’t see myself) and encouraged me to pursue this from a different angle. We’re here because a problem, that affects too many of the women in our lives, isn’t going away.