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To the Future: The Promise of Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

By Harshita Parmar

Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly popular in the healthcare field. According to Forbes, the investment in AI was estimated to reach $6.6 billion by 2021, which demonstrates the extensive uses artificial intelligence has in the healthcare field- from diagnosing to treating various diseases.

Sophia is a famous artificially intelligent robot, created by Hanson robotics for the purpose of improving the lives of humans across the globe. Perhaps one day more robots like these will be made to improve healthcare.

Artificial intelligence has been researched in relevance to diagnoses and treatments of different types of cancers; the results are very optimistic as this can eventually allow us to be able to cure cancer with other forms of treatment like chemotherapy.

Artificial intelligence was examined to see how well it can detect lung cancer, the deadliest type of cancer, with a mortality rate of only 5 years for 75% of patients diagnosed. An AI algorithm was equipped to be able to identify pulmonary nodules on chest radiographs and scientists believe this may enhance lung cancer identification. Moreover, the algorithm successfully detected malignant growths and cancers, when screened. Even though lung cancer is diagnosed primarily through CT scans and examined by radiologists, human error can occur which can cause radiologists to overlook signs or growths in CT scans, which can yield false positives or false negatives. Fortunately, artificial intelligence can minimize these errors and consecutively allow for quicker, effective treatment plans.

Smoking is a major cause of not only lung cancer, but also other forms of cancer as well. Don't smoke!

Furthermore, a clinical trial was done to test how well artificial intelligence diagnoses and treats a rare type of cancer: Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma forms in the lining of the lungs or abdomen due to a buildup of asbestos fiber exposure. Artificial intelligence was successful in both diagnosing and treating this type of cancer as well; the algorithm was able to detect the presence of asbestos. It can also determine how a person reacts to cancer treatment, like chemotherapy or immunotherapy, which can help healthcare professionals treat cancer patients more effectively. Moreover, artificial intelligence is also being implemented in cancer drugs for many different types of cancer. Factors like patient background and lifestyle, drug formulations, tumor and genetic heterogeneity can be taken into consideration efficiently with artificial intelligence and quickly aid in the creation of drugs specific to types of cancers and patient populations.

In terms of breast cancer, an artificial intelligence algorithm known as Mirai, was created by MIT artificial intelligence expert Regina Barzilay and a student. Mirai can efficiently detect half the chances of whether a person can get breast cancer up to five years before it can happen. This advancement can further lead to better treatment options and plans, with the sole intention of saving the lives of more people affected by breast cancer.

Thank you for reading! If you interested in learning more about the lungs, and about technology from the past, I would like to encourage you to watch this video about a Polio survivor who has lived his whole life in a pair of iron lungs. Click on the link to learn more: The Last Few Polio Survivors – Last of the Iron Lungs | Gizmodo - YouTube

Are you interested in writing for us? We are looking for new members of our writing committee. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Thanks!


Zeitchik, Steven. “MIT professor's AI predicts breast cancer risk from mammograms.” The Washington Post, 21 December 2021

Sharp, Jonathan. “Artificial Intelligence at Work in Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment |” Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, 4 December 2021,

Povtak, Tim. “Scientists Develop Artificial Intelligence for Mesothelioma Assessment.” The Mesothelioma Center, 26 April 2021,

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