Posted on March 17, 2017 by staff

Why can’t technology cure cancer?


I’m coming off my long run this week (as they say in cricket).

On Sunday night I was flicking through my timeline on Twitter and I stumbled across a story about a talented BBC newsreader and presenter called Rachael Bland.

I don’t know her but I know of her because she’s a regular on Twitter and a good egg by all accounts.

Anyway she’s 39, a proud mummy to Freddie and wife to Steve. In November 2016 she was diagnosed with primary breast cancer that had spread to lymph nodes under her right arm.

She’s embarked on four-and-a-half months of chemotherapy and has written an incredible blog called: ‘Big C, Little Me.’

I can recommend the column and Rachael’s response has been stoic.

However the fact that a young mum has been diagnosed with cancer made me a bit angry – even though I don’t know her personally.

I just don’t understand why technology hasn’t come up with a cure for cancer. We’re spending all this money on driverless cars, space technology, bots, drones, virtual reality and a lot more besides so what about beating cancer?

I know this is a really simple view but we spend billions of pounds on cancer research but to a layman like me we don’t appear to be any closer to a cure.

There’s some amazing treatment out there and wonderfully caring staff (as evidenced in Rachael’s blog) but given the advances in artificial intelligence how long will it be before AI cures the Big C?

I was reading that a team of scientists at Stanford University have found that artificial intelligence can already identify skin cancer in photographs with the same accuracy as trained doctors.

The hope is that AI could revolutionise healthcare by effectively transforming people’s smartphones into a cancer scanner, which is ironic given the warnings that mobile phones can cause cancer.

I’m not an expert but I believe part of the solution will be in wearable tech or even embedded electronics that are inserted under the skin. Many are fitted with an ECG sensor that monitor the heart and can help predict the risk of a heart attack.

So good luck to the indomitable Rachael Bland and all the other people who are battling cancer.