Collaborating Authors

Seeing into the future: Personalized cancer screening with artificial intelligence


While mammograms are currently the gold standard in breast cancer screening, swirls of controversy exist regarding when and how often they should be administered. On the one hand, advocates argue for the ability to save lives: Women aged 60-69 who receive mammograms, for example, have a 33 percent lower risk of dying compared to those who don't get mammograms. Meanwhile, others argue about costly and potentially traumatic false positives: A meta-analysis of three randomized trials found a 19 percent over-diagnosis rate from mammography. Even with some saved lives, and some overtreatment and overscreening, current guidelines are still a catch-all: Women aged 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year. While personalized screening has long been thought of as the answer, tools that can leverage the troves of data to do this lag behind.

COVID-19 crisis halts cancer screenings in Japan

The Japan Times

Japan's COVID-19 epidemic is putting people's lives at risk by causing postponements of cancer screenings, reducing opportunities for detection and treatment in the early stages of cancer. Experts are urging people to take examinations once screening providers resume operations. In April, the health ministry urged the country's 47 prefectures to call off cancer screenings in principle to prioritize coronavirus-related treatments. The move was also aimed at avoiding the three Cs of closed and crowded spaces involving close contact, seen as high-risk environments during the virus crisis. After the government-declared state of emergency over the virus was lifted last month, the government called for prefectures to resume screenings in line with each region's infection levels and after taking appropriate prevention measures.

Japan Cancer Society urges people to get screened after testing dove 30% in 2020

The Japan Times

The Japan Cancer Society is urging people to get screened for cancer as soon as possible after reporting Saturday that screenings fell around 30% in 2020 from the previous year. The drop may have been due to the many medical checkups that were canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus, with many people refraining from visiting doctors amid the pandemic. The Tokyo-based society is calling on people to receive cancer screenings at an early date, saying estimates based on the size of the decrease of screening recipients and cancer detection rates show that some 1,000 to 2,100 people may have undetected cases of the disease. The society asked its 42 branches across the country to report the number of recipients of cancer screenings offered by local governments and received valid answers from 32 branches in February and March this year. The survey found that the number of people who received screenings for stomach, lung, bowel, breast and cervical cancers in 2020 fell some 30.5% from 5,670,796 in 2019 to 3,941,491.

Number of new cancer patients in Japan decreased for first time in 2020

The Japan Times

The National Cancer Center said Friday that the number of people in Japan newly diagnosed with cancer in 2020 fell for the first time since it started collecting such data in 2007. The number dropped 5.9% from the previous year, with a significant drop marked in May 2020, when Japan was under its first coronavirus state of emergency. Believing that the 2020 result was due to a decrease in cancer screenings, the center is asking citizens to get checked for cancer regularly. Every year, the center gathers data on the number of patients newly diagnosed with or treated for cancer at designated cancer hospitals and other institutions throughout Japan. The total number of such patients last year came to 1.04 million at 863 facilities.

Doctors See Alarming Increase Of Prostate Cancer Cases As Screening Declines

International Business Times

A study published Wednesday revealed that instances of American men who are 50 years old and above having advanced prostate cancer are increasing. On the other hand, cases of early-stage disease have dropped. The research examined cases diagnosed from 2005 to 2016, a period where federal guidelines warned against a prostate-specific antigen or PSA screening for prostate cancer detection. According to the guidelines, the overall benefits of the test did not outweigh the risks involved. This screening method involves taking blood samples from a man and having a laboratory analyze and measure the PSA level in the sample.