AI can detect cancer years before diagnosis

Researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can identify individuals at high risk for pancreatic cancer up to three years before diagnosis. The diagnosis is made solely based on the patient's medical records. Pancreatic cancer is known to be one of the most lethal forms of cancer, and this discovery offers hope of earlier diagnosis, leading to better chances of survival. Currently, pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose early on, leading to a low survival rate, and a need for better screening tools. Without any population-based tools to screen for pancreatic cancer, only individuals with a family history of the disease or certain genetic mutations are screened, leaving out cases that fall outside these categories. The AI algorithm was trained on two data sets of nine million patient records from Denmark and the United States. The model used disease codes and the timing of their occurrence to predict which patients were likely to develop pancreatic cancer in the future. The AI model was tested on different versions for its ability to detect people at elevated risk of disease development within different timescales, ranging from six months to three years. The researchers found that each version of the AI algorithm was substantially more accurate at predicting who would develop pancreatic cancer than current population-wide estimates of disease incidence. One significant advantage of the AI tool is that it can be used on all patients with available health records and medical history, not just those with a known family history or genetic predisposition for the disease. The AI tool offers hope for earlier diagnosis and treatment, as well as improved survival rates.


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