Will big data revolutionize oncology like the microscope revolutionized infectious disease?
It’s a shocking fact published by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there are 14 million new cancer cases diagnosed every year, and it’s even more concerning that this number is expected to rise by 70% over the next two decades.
Thankfully, due to the tremendous work done in cancer research and care, we learn more about the disease, its root causes, and ways to treat it every day.
Today, over 100 cancer types, some of them being comprised of as many as 10 molecular subtypes, are known – each of them requiring unique diagnosis and treatment.
It appears like a massive challenge to me for oncologists to keep up with the ever growing amount of published research so they can accomplish their goal of providing the best possible care to their patients.
Trying to think myself into the role of an oncologist, Albert Einstein’s words come to mind: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know”. It feels oppressive to imagine having a cancer patient in front of me whose life may depend on finding the most suitable therapy quickly, while knowing there is much more information out there to help this person than I can possibly access and manage.
I was fortunate to listen to a very interesting Healthcare IT News webinar recently held by Kevin Fitzpatrick, CEO of the CancerLinQ initiative driven by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). As Kevin stated, only three percent of all patients diagnosed with cancer enroll in clinical trials, and they don’t nearly represent the constitution of the entire cancer patient population in terms of age, health status, ethnicity and other criteria. That means oncologists today have to rely on research of different types of patients than they see at their practices every day. At the same time, information from the other 97% of cancer patients is unavailable to literature, unavailable to be shared with peers, and not geographically distributed.
This is why ASCO is building its groundbreaking big-data platform called CancerLinQ to address two basic challenges: to learn from every patient, and to harness data in powerful new ways. The goal is to see the whole picture of cancer care so doctors can more fully inform each patient’s individual care.
Like the invention of the microscope back in the 16th century opened a whole new universe to the medical world in terms of fighting infectious disease, big data technology has the potential to revolutionize oncology so patients can experience the full benefits of personalized care for improved patient outcomes.
Visiting #HIMSS16? Take the chance to join CancerLinQ CEO Kevin Fitzpatrick discussing how ASCO is going to enable better, more data-driven decision making at booths 14060-14087 on March 1st from 4:00PM-4:30PM PT.
At any time throughout the event, to learn more about how advanced analytics and flexible in memory computing platforms are facilitating breakthroughs in healthcare, visit SAP Booth #5828 or visit SAP for Personalized Medicine.