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September 02, 2010

Mobile phones can detect cancer

BANGALORE: A hospital in cooperation with a research group in bangalore has conceptualized & launched a health service that uses mobile phones to detect cancer.

The Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre (MSCC) of the Narayana Hrudayalaya, a well-known hospital along with the SANA (a research group at Harvard/MIT), has launched the ‘mhealth’ that uses mobile phone to detect cancer.

The Head of Department (HOD) of Cancer in the Narayan Hriduyalya, Dr. Moni Abraham, said that usually patients visit specialists with stage four of cancer that is expensive to treat. However, if cancer is detected early, it can be treated properly & economically, he said.

“By sitting in the building like a major cancer centre we get a lot of patients but they 've very advance stage. So, we realise that we 've to reach out to people; so that is the basic motive we go out to the people & try to pick up the cancer at its early stage. So, we can provide basic help to the patient…. The cost of treatment, the benefit of treatment will be significant … than stage four disease,” said Dr. Moni Abraham.

The technology that the SANA software has developed includes certain automated questionnaires, which are directed to the patient by a trained health worker. If most of the questionnaires are answered in the affirmative, the health worker will then take high quality lesion picture using the phone camera. After clicking the picture, the entire data is uploaded on the server for the specialists to take a look & analyse the case.

“This picture can be taken by the mobile phone camera & with the optics of the recent camera the quality of picture is fairly good. So, all most like an expert going to the community & seeing the patient ourselves so they (health workers) take a picture then completing all the constituents & taking picture they press a button & with the button they can transfer the entire details through internet,” said Dr. Moni Abraham.

It takes only two minute for a cancer specialist to decide whether the person in question is affected with cancer. Dr. Abraham said: The next development will be that the software will be given to telephone vendors to be uploaded in their phones.

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