Cancer is one of the most common chronic diseases that occur in humans. There are varieties of cancer, including breast, lung, skin, and many more. Certainly, deaths due to cancer have reduced due to medical advancements. Around 1.8 million new cancer cases arrive every day globally. With awareness spread successfully, the rate of cancer patients is gradually decreasing. Patients take strict precautions at the early stages of the disease. Effective drugs with fewer side effects and radiotherapy are available in the market. The process of treatment has also become very cost-effective and secure. People with cancer can now get therapy without financial drawbacks. With machine learning pacing forward, the technology has now merged with the medical field as well. The application of machine learning to plan radiotherapy is the newest method to cure head throat cancer.
Radiotherapy Treatment of Cancer
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment with the use of high dose radiation to kill cancer cells. Further, this method shrinks the tumor cells and completely removes the cancerous cell. Firstly, the high dose of radiation goes inside the cells and slows the growth rate of cell DNA. When the DNA is damaged, the cell gets destroyed. The destroyed cells are removed from the patient’s body.
However, radiotherapy can’t kill the cancerous cells at once. It generally takes a few weeks or months to kill the cell. Moreover, the therapy depends on the type of tumor or cancer. It also depends on the size and location of the cells. Mainly two types of radiations occur; external and internal. In the case of the external beam, a large device targets the area of cancer externally. The tool generates a loud noise. At the same time, internal beam radiotherapy is a treatment where a source of radiation inserted inside the body. The radiation source can be solid or liquid.
Drawbacks of Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is a limited procedure. Excessive use of the method can harm the patient with side effects. It is because of the site-specific radiation, which affects the near-by cells. Hair loss, soreness, dry mouth are a few common side effects of radiotherapy. It also accompanies pain during the procedure and is unbearable at times. Moreover, this can also affect the diet of the patient. Researchers conduct new studies to make the process better and smooth. Modern technology is incorporated to reduce the cost and pain.
Machine Learning with Cancer
DeepMind Technologies is a UK based artificial intelligence company and research laboratory. They create eco-friendly technology to help human-kind. Their technology is for the public benefit and scientific researches. Recently they partnered with the Radiotherapy Department at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. UCLH provides world-leading cancer treatment. Oral cancer has risen by 92% since the 1970s. Throat cancer affects over 11,000 patients in the UK alone each year.
Radiotherapy has improved the survival rate over the years because of advanced treatments. But as it affects the delicate parts of the cells, doctors or clinicians have to plan the radiotherapy process. Careful treatment is necessary to ensure no vital nerve is damaged. This makes treating cancer with radiotherapy very risky.
DeepMind Scientists are working along with UCLH’s world-leading radiotherapy team to explore new safe methods. They are applying machine learning to plan the treatment process of radiotherapy. Moreover, before the treatment clinicians will also decide the proper procedure to prevent any damage. The collaboration will carefully analyze patients at UCLH, to determine the potential for machine learning to make radiotherapy planning more efficient. Clinicians will remain responsible for deciding radiotherapy treatment plans. But it is hoped that the process may reduce from up to a few hours to around an hour.
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