HEALTH & AI: How AI is improving cancer diagnostics

Masaharu Morita, global marketing & new business manager, Modality Solution, Medical Division, Fujifilm

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that globally, one in five people develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease. These new estimates suggest that more than 50 million people are living within five years of a past cancer diagnosis. According to GLOBOCAN 2020 database (an online resource that provides global cancer statistics and estimates of incidence and mortality in 185 countries for 36 types of cancer) released by IARC, India sees a 5-year survival rate of about 30% of cancer patients. Early detection and early treatment with the help of regular screening plays a vital role in preventing and improving the survival rate of cancer patients in the country.

“Screening helps healthy, asymptomatic people identify previously unrecognised health risks at an early stage, allowing them to modify their lifestyle and prevent lifestyle diseases and in case of cancers, gives them the best chance of receiving effective treatment,” says Mohamed Kasim, president, Dr Kutty’s Healthcare, a fast-growing healthcare company.

Recently, the Japanese intelligent imaging and medical technologies major Fujifilm and Dr Kutty’s Healthcare joined hands to set up ‘NURA’—their first health-screening centre in the country, in Bengaluru. “With this examination centre, we aim to create awareness and an environment of opting for regular medical screening and taking preemptive healthcare measures,” says Kasim.

Equipped with the best of Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled imaging and expert healthcare, NURA centre can correctly test 10 common cancers, including oral cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, laryngeal cancer and early signs of leukemia along with other lifestyle diseases.

“We aim to bring Japan’s health screening culture to India,” says Masaharu Morita, global marketing/new business manager, Modality Solution, Medical Division, Fujifilm. “We use AI for three important things: high quality, low invasive and speed. The AI technology is developed in Japan and it can detect the abnormality automatically and alert the doctors and radiologists. We are using ultra low radiation CT which is 1/50 of normal CT and it’s the same radiation dose as chest X-ray. AI technology enables us to sharpen the low-dose image that would be missed by the naked eye. We test for the 10 common cancers and lifestyle diseases critical illness such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, myocardial infarction and diabetic in 120 minutes.”

In addition to 10 cancer tests, the centre will provide total medical examination services such as early detection of risks of metabolic syndrome and locomotive syndrome, lifestyle-related diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and myocardial infarction.

According to Morita, with increased life expectancy in India, there is a shift from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, myocardial infarction and diabetes. These are curable if identified at an early stage but most of these diseases are found at a later stage in India so mortality rate is high, making regular health screening necessary. “We plan to open about 100 such centres in India starting with metro cities and then expanding across entire India,” he adds.

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