Area native designs bra for breast cancer patients

By Mitch Wisniewski, HealthyJoCo Volunteer

About one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to Algonquin native Genevieve Goelz, at age 23, had already been affected by breast cancer within her family. Her grandmother, Geri Goelz, passed away from a rare type of breast cancer in February 2018.

Genevieve, who graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in biomedical engineering in the spring of 2018, was tasked with completing her senior design program through the engineering degree requirements. Specifically, the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics tasked students with solving engineering related issues. One of the requests was a bra for people with people who undergo unilateral mastectomies, which is the removal of one breast. The purpose of the bra is to provide a measured amount of compression to the surgical site around the residual breast, to both armpits and the back. 

Goelz, alongside team members Anna Rodriguez, Ashton Sherman, and Maria Fernanda Larraga Martinez took on the task of creating such a bra. After designing, prototyping, and testing various bras, the group presented their work at Senior Design Day. While she had completed the official program for school, Goelz wanted to continue the project. She has been in contact with patent attorneys, and she is further developing the device through entrepreneurial events and careful business planning and development. In the future, she hopes to make the product highly effective and easily accessible to all patients.