Screening of Pancreatic Cancer via Smartphone App

July 4, 2018  Source: mHealthSpot 304

The survival rate of pancreatic cancer is considered as only 9 percent by assessing the past five-year survival rate. There are no proper symptoms or screening tools to detect cancer in advance in order to mitigate the advance of the disease.

A research team from the University of Washington have devised a mobile app named BiliScreen which allows people to be screened for pancreatic cancer by taking a smartphone selfie. This app uses a smartphone camera, computer vision algorithms and machine learning tools to assess bilirubin levels in the white part of the eye named sclera since jaundice is considered as one of the earliest symptoms of pancreatic cancer. The eyes and the skin become yellow colored due to the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood caused by jaundice.

Alex Mariakakis, the lead author and a doctoral student at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering said, "The problem with pancreatic cancer is that by the time you're symptomatic, it's frequently too late; The hope is that if people can do this simple test once a month — in the privacy of their own homes — some might catch the disease early enough to undergo treatment that could save their lives."

Unlike a blood test to check bilirubin levels, BiliScreen is a non-invasive, user-friendly tool used to monitor bilirubin frequently to detect pancreatic cancer in advance. The next step will be to test the app on a wide range of patients who have a high risk of jaundice followed by pancreatic cancer.

By Ddu
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