Experts identify roles of AI in cancer care in Nigeria at KCHI webinar

The experts at a webinar organized by a nongovernmental organisation, Khayr Cancer Health Initiative (KCHI) to explore the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and cancer care within the Nigerian context disclosed that, AI if effectively utilised in the health sector will transform it and bring about robust health care system in the country.

The Summit University, Ilorin Kwara State Vice Chancellor, Prof Musa Aibinu who was the guest speaker on the webinar said AI has made a significant impact across a myriad of industries, especially in healthcare, saying it has revolutionized the health sector.

Speaking further, Prof Aibinu said the primary aim of AI applications in healthcare is to analyse links between prevention or treatment approaches and patient outcomes.

The Summit University VC said the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the fight against cancer is profound and multifaceted saying it will revolutionise the way cancer is diagnosed, treated, and managed if applied in the sector.

Prof. Aibinu stated that AI will aid early detection and diagnosis of cancer in Nigeria if well utilized.

He said; “AI algorithms can analyse medical imaging data such as mammograms, MRIs, and CT scans to detect early signs of cancer with high accuracy. By identifying subtle abnormalities that human observers may miss, AI enhances early detection, enabling prompt intervention and potentially improving patient outcomes. Similarly, AI enhances risk stratification in patients identified with a higher risk of developing specific cancers, prompting earlier screening.”

According to him the treatment plan for a cancer patient is enhanced with the use of AI.
“AI enables the development of personalised treatment plans tailored to cancer patient’s genetic makeup, tumour characteristics, and individual preferences. By analysing large-scale genomic and clinical datasets, AI algorithms can identify biomarkers, predict treatment responses, and recommend targeted therapies most likely adequate for each patient.”

Other benefit identified in the use of AI for treatment of cancer in Nigeria are drug discovery and development and [patient monitoring and risk assessment.

He said; “AI accelerates the discovery process by analysing vast amounts of biomedical data to identify potential drug candidates, predict their efficacy and safety profiles, and optimise their molecular structures. AI-driven drug discovery platforms enable the rapid screening of large chemical libraries, leading to the discovery of novel cancer therapeutics and repurposing of existing drugs for cancer treatment.”

“AI-powered wearable devices and mobile health apps enable remote monitoring of cancer patients’ symptoms, medication adherence, and treatment-related side effects to monitor recurrence after treatment. AI algorithms analyse data from these devices to provide personalised health insights, offer timely interventions, and empower patients to participate actively in their care management. Additionally, AI can analyse data to identify patients with a higher risk of recurrence, allowing doctors to develop personalised follow-up plans with more frequent monitoring.

Earlier, in her opening remark, Head, Department of Radiology, Barau Dikko University Teaching Hospital & Member, Board of Trustees KCHI, Dr Bilkisu Farouk Usman emphasized the need for early screening of breast cancer as an antidote for early treatment.

While commenting on the webinar’s significance, the Executive Director, Khayr Cancer Health Initiatives (KCHI), Madinat Hassan remarked, “the convergence of artificial intelligence and cancer care presents unprecedented opportunities to revolutionise healthcare delivery in Nigeria. By harnessing the power of AI-driven technologies, we can overcome barriers to access, improve diagnostic accuracy, and ultimately save lives.”