Editor’s note: This article is by
by Dr. Michal Rosen-Zvi, senior manager of analytics at IBM Research – Haifa.
|Dr. Michal Rosen-Zvi|
cancer continues to be the second largest threat to women’s health in Africa with mortality rising every year. The incidence of cervical cancer is 53 per
100,000 women in sub-Saharan Africa. This is
more than seven times higher than incidence in Western countries. Much of
this problem stems from poor awareness, scarce access to timely screening and
treatment, and lack of strategic public health infrastructure. Cervical cancer
however is largely preventable through vaccination and by implementing
screening programs, as well as raising awareness of the disease.
Research wants to make these prevention options available via data. Our
scientists in Haifa, Israel and Nairobi, Kenya want to boost awareness, improve
monitoring and decision making, and promote a proactive approach to public
health with a new system that uses cloud and mobile technologies to gather,
manage, analyze and visualize data on cervical cancer in Kenya.
point when the infection first begins, it takes years until an invasive cancer
develops. Awareness and monitoring through screening programs are key to early
detection since the early stages of the cancer can be completely asymptomatic.
By identifying and removing pre-cancerous cells during this time frame, the
cancer can be prevented.
Dynamic disease mode
team has developed a model for cervical cancer incidence, based on
well-established epidemiological models incorporated into a state-of-the art
Bayesian model. It combines factors such as living conditions – whether rural
or urban – with HIV co-infection, intervention actions, and disease
progression. As more real-time data collected in the field is fed into the
model, the parameters are automatically refined to increase the accuracy of
future predictions. In effect, the system 'learns' from data over time.
By merging our expertise in big data analytics with
smarter healthcare, IBM can help transform information into something that
will help reduce the unnecessary suffering caused by cervical cancer, and
improve the quality of life for millions of women across Africa.
analytics engine uses the new disease model to sift through the vast amount of
data collected. This allows researchers to create “what-if” scenarios to
determine the best outcome of where to invest efforts and budget. For example, if all girls who attend
primary-school are inoculated at age 12 from now on, what would the number of
incidents of cervical cancer be 20 years from today? And what would this number
be if no such action is taken?
if we do screening and treatments for all the women in a particular region,
according to recommended Kenya
guidelines? How many of the disease incidents could be prevented? The cognitive
system provides estimate of incidents for the next year, two years from now,
and five years from now. The system includes the statistics for Kenya’s
population, combined with information extracted from literature and model
By merging our expertise in big
data analytics with smarter healthcare, IBM can help transform information into
something that will help reduce the unnecessary suffering caused by cervical
cancer, and improve the quality of life for millions of women across Africa.
IBM, in cooperation with global and local agencies
such as the Bush Institute, PEPFAR, PinkRibbbon, RedRibbon, Future Group, and
Strathmore University, has embarked on a journey to help monitor, treat, and
prevent cervical cancer in Africa. This project is being conducted by IBMers in
Kenya, Israel, China and other places around the world.
Labels: cervical cancer, healthcare, IBM Research - Haifa, Kenya, public health