Search
Close this search box.
Search

Identifying early warning signs of cancer through search queries

Scientists working for Microsoft say they can in some cases identify internet users suffering from pancreatic cancer, even before they have received a diagnosis of the disease. How? By analyzing large samples of search engine queries.

New York Times writes the scientists hope their work may eventually lead to early detection of cancer. The scientists published their on Tuesday in The Journal of Oncology Practice. Authors were Dr. Eric Horvitz and Dr. Ryen White (Microsoft researchers) and John Paparrizos – a Columbia University graduate student.

The researchers focused on searches conducted on Microsoft’s search engine Bing, that indicated someone had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Then they worked backward, looking for earlier queries that could have shown that the Bing user was experiencing symptoms before the diagnosis. Those early searches, they believe, can be warning flags.

Five-year survival rates for pancreatic cancer are extremely low, but early detection of the disease can prolong life in a very small percentage of cases. Early screening can increase the five-year survival rate of pancreatic patients to 5 to 7 percent, from just 3 percent, according to the study.

The researchers reported that they could identify from 5 to 15 percent of pancreatic cases with false positive rates of as low as one in 100,000. They noted that false positives could lead to raised medical costs or create significant anxiety for people who later found out they were not sick. The data used by the researchers was anonymized, without identifying markers like a user name, so the individuals conducting the searches could not be contacted.

The researchers also looked at what to do with their search information. One possibility is a health service where users could allow their searches to be collected, allowing scientists to monitor for questions that indicate warning flag symptoms.

Whixx

ICT&health World Conference 2024

Experience the future of healthcare at the ICT&health World Conference from May 14th to 16th, 2024!
Secure your ticket now and immerse yourself in groundbreaking technologies and innovative solutions.
Engage with fellow experts and explore the power of global collaborations.

Share this article!

Read also
Doximity_edited
Innovation Adoption: How to Traverse The Valleys of Death
Pioneering Cardiac Arrest Detection for Enhanced Survival.
CardioWatch Revolutionizes Cardiac Arrest Detection
Dr. Oscar Díaz-Cambronero, Head of Perioperative Medicine Department at La Fe Hospital, spearheads innovative telemonitoring initiatives revolutionizing patient care
Smartwatches Saving Lives Inside and Outside the Hospital
EIT 2024
EIT Awards 2024. Two European startups are revolutionizing the treatment of cardiovascular diseases
Bertrand Piccard, Swiss explorer and founder of the Solar Impulse Foundation
EIT Summit 2024. What are the trigger points that drive or inhibit innovation?
MMC pioneers wireless monitoring for premature infants with the innovative Bambi Belt, revolutionizing care with improved comfort and mobility.
Wireless Monitoring of Vital Signs in Premature Infants at Máxima MC
Data protection-critical incidents resulting from human error are often rooted in stress, routine, negative attitudes toward IT, and deficits in employees' identification with the healthcare facility.
How cyberpsychology helps prevent human errors leading to data leaks
What technologies will enter our homes in a few months? ICT&health checked it out at the CES 2024.
CES 2024: Meet the exciting innovations for health and well-being
An article on a new study on e-health assessment tools
eHealth success lies at the intersection of technology, people, and organization
Unlocking the Future: Professor Sylvia Thun, a trailblazer in healthcare interoperability, discusses the crucial role of seamless data exchange in revolutionizing medicine and empowering individuals with comprehensive access to their health data.
Seamless data exchange will unlock the long-awaited benefits of digitalization
Follow us