Patient Journey: With AI against cancer
Cancer is the second most common cause of mortality in Germany. Amongst the most frequent cancerous conditions is lung cancer/pulmonary cancer. Solely 20 percent of those diagnosed with pulmonary cancer survive the first five years after diagnosis.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies like robotics offer promising approaches for treating cancer patients more successfully. With the patient journey “With AI against cancer”, the Plattform für Lernende Systeme exemplifies the possibilities of AI in future cancer treatments. The narrative is set in the year 2024 and examines the AI-driven medical treatment of Mr. Anton Merk – a 65 years old male patient with pre-existing COPD:
1 Medical check-up
The first station in our journey is Mr. Merk’s general practitioner Doctor Karagöl. The patient’s medical record had been made accessible for her and enables her to evaluate Mr. Merk’s personal risk score (based on individual data, e.g. COPD, heavy smoker). Doctor Karagöl decides to refer the patient to a lung specialist for a more thorough examination of the lung.
The lung specialist also has access to Mr. Merk’s patient record. He proposes a lung function test and a low dose CT scan of the Mr. Merk’s lung. The specialist is supported by an AI assistant which detects lung tissue changes. The diagnosis: lung cancer / pulmonary cancer.
The recommendation of the AI-based decision support system to surgically remove the tumor has been thoroughly assessed and approved by the tumor board – a conference of cancer specialists, lung specialists, surgeons and radiation therapists. Throughout the surgery the surgeons are accompanied by an AI-based navigation system which allows its operator to reach highly vulnerable parts of the body accurately and cautiously, providing more safety for the patient.
4 Medical treatment
After the successful surgery, Mr. Merk discusses his further medical treatment with the lung specialists. In order to provide Mr. Merk the most suitable treatment, the specialists are using an AI-based decision support system which takes into account the patients’ data about the surgery as well as extensive knowledge gained from research and from other patient’s anonymized data. Based on the results, the patient and his doctor choose the appropriate chemotherapy.
5 Data donation
The vast amount of data that had been accumulated throughout Mr. Merk’s patient journey is saved – upon Mr. Merk’s wish – into his patient record. Furthermore, Mr. Merk agrees to donate his anonymized data in order to make it accessible for researchers and AI systems – helping other lung cancer patients around the globe.