Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd., to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) based lung cancer screening technology that will screen a patient for 29 lung diseases in one chest X-ray. This AI-powered chest X-ray system developed by healthtech startup ‘Qure.ai’ will help the government detect lung nodules, often precursors to lung cancer, in 19 district hospitals in Karnataka, overcoming a major early detection challenge, officials said.
The MoU was inked by National Health Mission, Health & Family Welfare Services, on behalf of the government, in the presence of Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao.
“Cancer can be treated with curative intent if detected early. We are bringing this technology in all our district hospitals across Karnataka, and we strongly believe that this will emerge as the most beneficial way of detecting lung cancer early and bringing down the financial and emotional burden of healthcare on patients especially who cannot afford even primary care,” Rao said.
In Karnataka, the incidence of cancer is increasing by about one per cent each year for both men and women, officials said, citing a study by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), which said cancer cases in Karnataka are expected to increase by 90,000 by 2025.
In Bengaluru alone, the most common cancers in men are lung, stomach, esophagus, and prostate. In women, the most common cancers are breast, cervix, ovary, and corpus uteri.
“We are grateful to the Government of Karnataka for this opportunity to partner and cater to the needs of patients at the community level. This will help incidental detection of nodules earlier thereby improving early cancer diagnosis to a large extent as we integrate AI based chest X-ray and low dose CT at the ground level,” Dr Sanjeev Panchal, Managing Director and Country President, AstraZeneca India.