IBM Joins Fight Against Cancer

Posted by North Texas Cancer Center at Wise on December 15th, 2016

The American Cancer Society estimates 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in the coming year. In fact, it is believed that 1 in 2 men and 1 out of 3 women will contract cancer in one form or another over the course of their lifetimes. Ensuring the best possible outcomes in these cases calls for up-to-date, relevant and often patient-specific information. With thousands and thousands of pages of data available on a diversity of cancer topics, however, tracking that information isn’t necessarily easy for doctors in the field. A new project being undertaken by IBM is hoped to change that.

IBM is working with the American Cancer Society to consolidate the data it’s collected over the years into the IBM Watson artificial intelligence engine. The hope is that someday soon, an IBM Watson-driven app will be able to offer doctors and their patients highly personalized information to guide them during the treatment process. The tool is intended for eventual integration with Watson for Oncology Doctors, which is an IBM-backed program that some doctors use to help support them during patient care.

IBM Watson relies on artificial intelligence to provide information on a diversity of topics. The new app, which has not yet been named, is envisioned to be able to assist on a patient-specific basis. A chemotherapy patient, for example, might be prescribed the app to assist during the treatment phase. The patient could use the app by punching in their weight during chemotherapy and asking for case-specific dietary advice to help them maintain that weight during treatments. Basically, it would function as a healthcare advisor during treatments, drawing on study-backed data the American Cancer Society has collected through the years. The data could also be useful for helping doctors manage patient care.

Just how soon the new app might be made available remains unclear. IBM is currently working with the cancer society to integrate its data into IBM Watson. The company, however, has promised that work on the project will go quickly as it’s a top priority.

More than 500,000 Americans die from cancer each year. Programs such as IBM Watson are designed to help lower that number by ensuring clinicians have access to the latest, most relevant information to assist them during every phase of patient care.  The new app is also planned to provide patients themselves information that is tailored to meet their needs during the treatment process.

Cancer is a risk for all Americans. To find out more, it is recommended people speak with their personal healthcare providers to obtain a risk assessment and insights on possible preventative measures. Early screening for cancers, such as colon and breast, can also prove critical in helping improve outcomes.

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North Texas Cancer Center at Wise, a division of Choice Cancer Care, is now operating as the Cancer Center at Wise Regional and is one of the most renowned cancer treatment centers in Texas.

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North Texas Cancer Center at Wise

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North Texas Cancer Center at Wise
Joined: February 24th, 2016
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