New tech for early detection of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer and a leading cause of death by cancer in Australian men. Early detection is key to successful treatment but men often dodge the doctor, avoiding diagnosis tests until it’s too late.

Now an artificial intelligence (AI) program developed at RMIT University could catch the disease earlier, allowing for incidental detection through routine computed tomography (CT) scans.

The tech works by analysing CT scans for tell-tale signs of prostate cancer, something even a well-trained human eye struggles to do.

CT imaging is not suitable for regular cancer screening because of the high radiation doses involved, but the AI solution could be used to run a cancer check whenever men have their abdomen or pelvis scanned for other issues.

RMIT’s Dr Ruwan Tennakoon said CT scans were great for detecting bone and joint problems but even radiologists struggled to spot prostate cancers on the images.

“We’ve trained our software to see what the human eye can’t, with the aim of spotting prostate cancer through incidental detection,” he said.

“It’s like training a sniffer dog – we can teach the AI to see things that we can't with our own eyes, in the same way a dog can smell things human noses can’t.”

Prostate cancer is slow growing and is usually detected incidentally, so can go undiagnosed for years. In Australia, it was responsible for an estimated 12 per cent of male cancer deaths in 2020.

How it works
For the study researchers from RMIT and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne studied CT scans of asymptomatic patients, with and without prostate cancer.

The team trained the AI software to look for features of disease in a variety of scans and where exactly to look for them, avoiding the need to manually crop the images.

The AI performed better than radiologists who viewed the same images, detecting cancerous growths in just seconds. What’s more, the AI improved with each scan, learning and adapting to read images from different machines to spot even the smallest irregularities.

RMIT’s Head of Artificial Intelligence, Professor John Thangarajah, said the study demonstrated how AI can and should be used to create public good.

“Our health sector needs smarter solutions and AI can help, but we're only scratching the surface,” he said. “There's a lot of good that artificial intelligence can bring to the world.”

Dr Mark Page, Head of CT in Diagnostic Imaging at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, said early intervention for prostate cancer was key to a better health outcome.

“Australia doesn’t have a screening program for prostate cancer but armed with this technology, we hope to catch cases early in patients who are scanned for other reasons,” he said. “For example, emergency patients who have CT scans could be simultaneously screened for prostate cancer.

“If we can detect it earlier and refer them to specialist care faster, this could make a significant difference to their prognosis.”

Do you trust AI technology to detect cancer? Do you think AI will eventually be able to detect all cancers and diseases?


The A1 CT scan   sure sounds a lot better than the Xray they have for the breast cancer in women

... if they squeezed men's jewels like they do with women's breast they sure would not get many takers.

Hope it helps in the fight against prostate cancer. We lost a well-known TV personality to the disease this week.

Australian radio and television personality Jonathan "Jono" Coleman has died, after living for four years with prostate cancer. He was 65. Pictured on right.

Coleman had a long and distinguished media career both in Australia and his native Britain, and was most recently a presenter on Studio 10 on Network 10. In 2015, he was awarded an OAM for his services to the broadcast media industry and to the community.

He seemed like a beaut bloke --very sad -- I remember when he came out on TV and told about it he was tearful

This test sounds like a step in the right direction, any tool that/can detect cancers should be welcome. Another tool in the specialists kit bag to detect this rotten disease is a good thing

Discover new topics to enrich your writing here. Useful shares will be refreshed regularly,  I hope you will have more good posts in the near future to share with readers super mario bros


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