AI for cancer detection and treatment


With IBM Watson early detection of cancer is possible resulting in drastic improvement at the district hospital level cancer treatments.

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Problem / Objective:

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world. Lack of awareness and affordability lead to inadequate detection and treatment of cases, 70% of them being detected in advanced stages. Moreover, the prevention programs and screening practices are not well developed in India.

Solution / Approach:

IBM’s Watson for Oncology functions in four layers. At the onset, it extracts key attributes from a patient’s case and then uses them to identify treatment options as determined by clinical guidelines. Consequently, a corpus of evidence data is searched to find supporting evidence for each option. Thereafter, by using Watson’s analytics algorithm, the treatment option is prioritized based on evidence. This solution can be implemented, integrated and co-executed with Government initiatives on public health. Specifically, they are delivered through hospital networks like the National Cancer Grid (NCG) or the National Program for Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease and Stroke (NPCDCS). The solution is constantly evolving with latest information through ongoing trials, publications and training provided by Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. 

Impact / Implementation:

Early detection of cancer is possible, and awareness is created through education. The quality of Cancer Care has seen drastic improvement at the district hospital level. Standardized protocol-based Cancer Care is being promoted pan India. In addition, hub and spoke model and telemedicine can help in accessing a solution like Watson for Oncology under the guidance of National Cancer Grid or some such nodal body to provide world class cancer care to patients even in remote areas of India. 

Source: NASSCOM COE-DSAI AI for Good report

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