October is the Breast Cancer Awareness month. As 1 in 8 women experience breast cancer, many of us know someone who is touched by this. We show our solidarity and appreciation in different ways by wearing pink, by donating funds a non-profit organization of our choice, and other means. I wanted to take this opportunity to speak about a different aspect of breast cancer which relates to the needs of patients, surgeons, loved ones from the research and scientific community in general.
As an engineer, I spent many years working in the industry or on basic science research projects. Many aspects of this was extremely fulfilling, but the possibility of the research projects reaching the clinic was elusive. This is why, I asked myself “How can we help patients now or in the near future?” With that, I asked two general surgeons: What is one problem you need solved? They told me that seroma was a bad problem and patients hated the drains. And this is how SOMAVAC Medical Solutions started. What we neither planned nor expected is our introduction to patients who underwent mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgeries. Especially, Michelle and other patients some of which are close friends who agreed to share their stories with us opened our eyes. Our open conversations with them showed us that there was a significant unmet need here. My co-founder and I got hopeful as we had the skills to do something about the issues we heard now. There is a potential here to help patients' recovery with a novel device within a year while research continues into its cause, treatment, and prevention.
It is safe to say that the way drains impact the recovery of breast cancer patients after their surgical experience, emotionally and practically, is what keeps us motivated. When we show patients what we are working on and ask for their feedback, we feel appreciated because they are happy to see someone is thinking of a way to improve their recovery at home. Our interpretation of what we hear combined with our engineering skills is reflected in the device that we are working very hard to bring through the regulatory process and reach patients who might experience drains. We appreciate the support and openness of breast cancer survivors and the families who we met in the last four months. Josh and I feel honored to be working on a solution to improve the lives of patients during their recovery.