Artificial intelligence may help in the prevention of thousands of cancer death per year by 2033, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May will be looking to make that application of AI in medicine a reality.
The early diagnosis of cancer is a huge advantage in a person's battle against the disease. This increased fighting chance is what artificial intelligence in healthcare will look to provide.
UK To Pledge Millions For AI In Healthcare
In a speech, UK Prime Minister May pledged millions of British pounds in government funding to develop artificial intelligence that will help with the early diagnosis of cancer. The pledge also promises the creation of high-skilled science jobs.
May described artificial intelligence as a "new weapon" in the fight against cancer and urged the country's National Health Service and technology companies to work on it. The systems should tell doctors if a patient should be forwarded to an oncologist for possible cancer.
The plan looks to provide early diagnosis of cancer to at least 50,000 people, including prostate cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and bowel cancer. Experts believe that AI will be able to help prevent 22,000 cancer deaths every year starting 2033 and may give patients an extra five years for a healthy and independent life by 2035.
May's speech was the first major address on the field of science delivered by a UK prime minister since 2009, when Gordon Brown outlined plans for research funding.
The Importance Of Early Diagnosis Of Cancer
The mere mention of the disease already brings so much negativity, especially due to the fact that the cure for cancer is still out of reach. However, the uphill climb to recover from cancer is made easier by early diagnosis.
"Late diagnosis of otherwise treatable illnesses is one of the biggest causes of avoidable deaths," said May. "And the development of smart technologies to analyze great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than is possible by human beings opens up a whole new field of medical research."
The UK prime minister envisions AI-powered computer algorithms looking through medical records, genetic data, and lifestyle habits to diagnose possible cancer cases before they become serious. With the government's commitment to the technology, artificial intelligence will hopefully start contributing to the fight against cancer in the years to come.
The importance of early diagnosis of cancer could not be stressed enough. Alongside the AI-powered technology, another early diagnosis method named CancerSEEK is being developed. Through a blood test, it will detect the eight most common types of cancer, five of which have no early detection method.