Cancer brings great inequalities, with a huge divide of diagnosis and treatments between nations; this divide takes many forms, from the availability of screening to environmental exposures. It is the cause of 9.5 million deaths worldwide each year, with 52.6% within the developing world. We need to find a (better) way to close the gap. Clinical Artificial Intelligence (AI) paves the way for this transformation.
Cancer diagnosis and treatment currently highlights inequalities such as age, gender, socio-economic status, and perhaps most significantly, nationality. Every year millions of individuals are diagnosed around the world, and in many countries it ranks the second most common cause of death. As our world population ages, this health issue will gain greater prevalence globally.
Of the 9.5 million deaths globally; about 5 million (52.6%) are within developing countries. But cancer is still not recognised as a high-priority health problem in many of these countries. Here many people are suffering from preventable diseases like malaria and malnutrition, excessive infant mortality and the AIDS pandemic. People in these developing countries with cancer, with the majority dying slow deaths, attract far less attention.
Despite all the challenges developing countries face, the average life expectancy is increasing, with major reductions in infant and childhood deaths even in the poorest countries. This improvement, however, makes cancer and the major non-communicable diseases more prominent within society. They now co-exist with the still heavy burden of common infectious diseases and are destined to continue growing with relative importance.
The geographic disparity in its incidence is largely attributable to the various socio-economic, environmental and lifestyle factors in different regions of the world.
Compared to developed countries, developing countries are affected by multiple disadvantages:
- Large scale screening efforts are unavailable to developing countries.
- The youth are faced with persistent tobacco industry targeting.
- There is a lack of resources in monitoring occupational exposures and developing or reinforcing occupational standards.
- Exposure to environmental contamination is the norm.
- Infectious agents such as Helicobacter pylori are prevalent.
Cancer is a development issue given its disproportionate burden on the developing world, reducing this burden is a necessity for addressing social and economic inequity. It’s believed that developing countries cannot afford cancer interventions, but the world cannot afford not to invest in cancer care and control in these countries, as from these investments, stimulation of the world’s economy will follow, along with an acceleration of sustainable development.
AI – paving the way for cancer diagnosis
AI has come a long way from its humble beginnings, particularly in healthcare. Significant medical applications for the technology are emerging. The agenda for action should catalyse the expansion of cancer care, control, and prevention, with strategies appropriate to the health systems of both developed and developing nations alike, accessible to all. Here at YouDiagnose, we present the way forward. We provide an AI-powered early cancer diagnosis solution that improves outcomes for patients, improves the work-life balance of hard-pressed clinicians and remove health inequalities due to such factors as wealth and geography. Find out more www.YouDiagnose.online
Authors Shallom Iriele , Dr Aswini Misro