Radiotherapy bra designed at Sheffield Hallam University receives national recognition

An innovative radiotherapy bra designed at Sheffield Hallam University to reduce the harmful impact of cancer treatment has been recognised on a nationwide shortlist.

The SuPPORT 4 All project focused on developing a new bra to be used during radiotherapy sessions for breast cancer treatment, aimed at improving the accuracy of high energy rays applied to the breast and reducing the dose levels received by major organs.

The project, lead by a team of Hallam’s health experts, was honoured in the UK’s Best Breakthroughs list at Universities UK.

As part of their MadeAtUni campaign, which is aimed at changing public perceptions of universities, the bra is an innovation that the researchers at Sheffield Hallam believe could change countless lives.

It also allows for a woman’s modesty to be maintained during the procedure, where they would normally have to be topless.

Heidi Probst, professor of radiotherapy and oncology at Sheffield Hallam and head of the programme, said: “From discussions with women who have undergone treatment, we know that having the ability to wear a bra can be key in maintaining dignity and vastly improve patient experience.”


A design for the prototype bra (Credit Sheffield Hallam University)

Every day around 150 women in the UK will be told they have breast cancer. Globally, around 1.5 million women are diagnosed with the disease annually.

The product is in the early stages of development and was created in partnership with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Panache Lingerie, whose headquarters is in Crystal Peaks.

Professor Roger Eccleston, Vice Chancellor for Research and Global Engagement at Sheffield Hallam, said: “We’re extremely proud of the work of our academics and the difference they are making to people, lives and communities.

Sheffield Hallam specialises in healthcare research and its collaborators work to create innovative solutions to global health challenges.”

The MadeAtUni campaign was born out of independent research by Britain Thinks, a insight and strategy consultancy firm, which found the general public has little understanding of the benefits of universities beyond undergraduate teaching.

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “Universities really do transform lives. The technology we use every day, the medicines that save lives, the teachers who inspire – all come from UK universities and the important work being done by academics.”

Other notable mentions on a varied list include a Nano Membrane Toilet from Cranfield University and Staffordshire University offering a degree in electronic sports.