Breast cancer is “the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the Americas,” accounting for 16% of female cancer-rated mortality, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported in 2018. However, the survival rate for breast cancer in Latin America (27%) is significantly lower than in the U.S. (99%). This is due to a number of factors, including a lack of access to early detection and treatment services. Poverty also plays a role. In Latin America, 80% of females older than 40 lack access to mammograms due to equipment insufficiencies and a lack of health care professionals in this field. Also, where mammogram services are available, the costs are very high, UNDP Digital X explains. Furthermore, many women lack formal employment, making the high costs of mammograms prohibitive. Mamotest aims to improve breast cancer detection in Latin America.
Mamotest is a digital health company that is using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve breast cancer detection in Latin America. The company’s AI-powered platform can detect breast cancer with accuracy. Mamotest also offers a mobile app that allows women to book appointments, upload their mammograms and receive their results online. Mamotest has operated in Argentina since 2017 and it has recently expanded into Mexico. Guillermo Pepe founded it in 2013 as the first telediagnostic solution for breast cancer detection in Latin America.
The Benefits of Mamotest
Mamotest’s AI-powered platform is a significant advancement in the fight against breast cancer in Latin America. The platform makes it possible to provide early detection and treatment services to women who would otherwise not have access to them. This helps to increase the survival rate for breast cancer in the region. Early detection can raise the survival chances to 90% or more.
The United Nations (U.N.) regards Mamotest as “one of the four organizations changing the first level healthcare sector globally,” Mexico Business News reports.
The company has screened around 650,000 women. In Argentina, the company has 15 centers with a screening rate of 60,000 women per year. Mamotest helped 87% of the screened patients to receive an early diagnosis and begin treatment early on.
It is cost-effective, efficient and easily accessible to women in remote areas with certified examination reports available within 24 hours. UNDP Digital X says a mammogram in Latin America costs between $70 and $150 and the public sector does offer these services but the waiting list is typically four to six months.
As per the Swiss consultancy agency LeFil, Mamotest has resulted in benefits of around $6.2 million annually. Patients have saved $1.73 million annually due to “avoided out-of-pocket diagnostic costs, transportation expenses, treatment cost for uninsured patients and unpaid work days for patients without insurance or formal employer’s coverage,” LeFil says. Families of patients have saved $1.1 million annually that could have arisen from funeral expenses and lost income for household members caring for the ill member, among other costs.
A Notable Impact
Mamotest has made a notable impact so far. It has delivered “100 medical refresher courses,” diagnosed 150,000 women and ran 35 breast cancer awareness-raising campaigns. Further, Mamotest has performed 10,000 free mammograms through the support of Fundación Telmed. Mamotest’s efforts, in part, have influenced three provinces to pass a legal policy ensuring all people a day off work to undergo medical tests.
Owing to its positive impact on the lives of marginalized women in Latin America, Mamotest won the Zayed Sustainability Prize in 2022 in the health category for being an innovative and sustainable tech solution.
Mamotest is committed to continuing to innovate and improve its services. The company is currently working on developing new AI algorithms that will improve the accuracy of its platform. Mamotest is also working on expanding its services to reach other parts of Latin America like Peru, Uruguay and Mexico to help women fight breast cancer.
– Sarmad Wali Khan