How artificial intelligence technologies help in the fight against cancer

Loren is fascinated by the study of artificial intelligence and its positive impact on the health sector.

From the invention of smartphones to smart satellites (like Siri or Yandex Alice), a huge journey has been made. Many aspects of life revolve around technology, but some of the most incredible innovations are, nevertheless, invisible to most of us in our daily lives.

About 50 years ago, the diagnosis of cancer was much more dramatic than it is today. For example, the survival rate for childhood leukemia from 1960 to 1963 was only 14 percent in our days, this figure has grown more than four times: to 61.4 percent. A number of significant successes have been achieved in the field of cancer treatment – more breakthroughs have been made since the beginning of the 21st century than in any previous period.

In the world of health care (more precisely, cancer treatment), technologies are being actively modernized. Several studies have been conducted to test how effectively artificial intelligence can be used in the fight against cancer, in the hope of eradicating it once and for all.

Of course, progress has been made – the overall results look better, but the incidence of cancer continues to grow. According to a recent report, in 2018, there were 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million deaths from cancer — a rapid “progress” compared to 14.1 million cases of disease and 8.2 million deaths, registered in 2012. But oncologists and scientists believe that artificial intelligence will become a reliable assistant and even an initiator of solving this problem.

In particular, there is an increase in the number of people with “professional” cancer due to changes in working conditions at the dawn of the 20th century. People who have worked in factories, shipyards, or in close proximity to houses or buildings constructed of asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are at risk of developing more rare types of cancer, including often fatal mesothelioma.

Cancer that develops in the mesothelium of the lung, heart, or abdomen after exposure to asbestos has a high level of misdiagnosis. Its symptoms mimic common diseases, including asthma, pneumonia, and syndrome irritable bowel (IBS). The incidence of mesothelioma in recent years has increased due to the latent period of 10-50 years – many people who were exposed to toxins in the workplace during the 90s are currently at risk.

In the XXI century, artificial intelligence can have a serious impact on the procedure for treating patients with mesothelioma – for example, to exclude the incorrect formulation of cancer. The average life expectancy of a patient with mesothelioma is on average less than two years – therefore, early detection and diagnosis can save lives.

In 2015, a study in Turkey successfully diagnosed mesothelioma using machine learning – the machine is not programmed in advance, it learns on the go. Due to the use of two probabilistic structures of the neural network (PNN), the disease was successfully diagnosed with an accuracy of 96.3%. In the future, it will be interesting to see additional research and progress made in relation to mesothelioma, as well as other types of occupational cancer using AI.

Artificial intelligence is by no means the only direction vector that positively affects the quality of diagnosing cancer patients. Electronic medical records (EHR), telemedicine, and digital assistants are just a few of the many possibilities that provide doctors and patients with new treatments. Researchers are also promoting the “old” treatment, including radiological, to a new level as a means of better patient care.

While the future of “cancer” is unclear – but there is a high probability of breaking the trend. Cancer treatment is now more specialized than ever before – new research is constantly being conducted. Who knows at what stage we will be in 50 years.

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