Artificial intelligence (AI) could be used as a diagnostic tool for pancreatic cancer, as the technology has been shown to detect early signs of the illness.
Scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the USA have developed an AI tool that has accurately predicted those who will develop pancreatic cancer in the future by using CT scan images, Science Daily reported.
The findings, which were published in the journal Cancer Biomarkers, revealed participants were scanned several years before the disease was detected, and the AI equipment had picked up very subtle signs of pancreatic ductual adenocarcinoma, which is the most common type of pancreatic cancer.
Debiao Li, director of the Biomedical Imaging Research Institute, professor of Biomedical Sciences and Imaging at Cedars-Sinai and senior and corresponding author of the study, stated: “These are signs that the human eye would never be able to discern.”
This tool could be crucial for the survival rates of pancreatic cancer, as less than five per cent of those diagnosed have a life expectancy of more than five years, according to Pancreatic Cancer UK. However, early detection can increase the chances of surviving it by as much as 50 per cent.
The charity reported that someone dies from the disease every hour in the UK, while it is also responsible for 5.2 per cent of all cancer deaths in the country.
Currently, it is particularly hard to discover pancreatic cancer at its outset, as many of its symptoms – from stomach-ache to weight loss – are common in other illnesses. Four-fifths of patients are diagnosed once it has already spread to other organs, and are given a life expectancy of between just two and six months.
However, the AI equipment could analyse the CT scans of those who had undergone the procedure due to other complaints. During the study, the tool achieved 86 per cent accuracy in identifying those who went on to develop pancreatic cancer.
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