IBM Brings Online Tools to Africa’s Cancer Fight
'Allied Against Cancer' will improve access to cancer care and treatment in Africa
The American Cancer Society (ACS), National Comprehensive Cancer Network and IBM announced the 'Allied Against Cancer', a new alliance to help improve access to high-quality cancer care and treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This new Alliance said in a November 11, 2019, statement it will support a network of African oncology experts and technical assistance partners to help improve the quality of cancer care, including collaborating closely with the African Cancer Coalition.
There are more than 800,000 new cancer cases each year in Sub-Saharan Africa and incidence is projected to double by the year 2040.
Therefore, the need for more affordable cancer treatment and strong systems for their delivery are crucial to help improve patients' survival.
To address gaps in access to cancer medicines, ACS began bringing lower prices for 16 common chemotherapy drugs to a half-dozen countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
And top American oncologists have supported the African Cancer Coalition -- comprising of 110 African oncologists representing 34 hospitals from 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
And, to adapt cancer-treatment guidelines for use in African hospitals, the African Cancer Coalition adapted the 46 new guidelines that have been endorsed by leading cancer centers or health ministries in 6 countries to date.
Additionally, IBM developed an online tool called Cancer Guidelines Navigator to provide African oncology professionals with interactive access to these Guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa at no charge.
Oncologists based in Sub Saharan Africa can input a clinical description for a cancer patient -- such as tumor type, stage, biomarker status, and prior treatments -- into the IBM online tool.
The Cancer Guidelines Navigator points the user to relevant treatment options. At this time, the tool includes Guidelines for cervical cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and Kaposi sarcoma.
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IBM also helped to transform the ACS ChemoSafe Facility Assessment Tool – from an Excel-based document to an interactive, easy to use mobile application- to scale the program's goal of improving the safety and quality of chemotherapy handling in cancer centers.
"Allied Against Cancer brings together a group of top-notch experts to tackle the growing burden of cancer in Africa, and the ACS is proud to be a founding member of the alliance," said Gary Reedy, Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society, in this press release.
"With the increasing burden of cancer in this part of the world, we must strive to improve patients' access to timely and affordable care. Technology and data can help create efficient healthcare systems so that national and regional medical networks can increase support their local communities," said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, IBM Research.
"To address the growing burden of cancer in Africa and worldwide, African oncologists need quick and easy access to current treatment options as well as quality, affordable treatment for their patients," said Professor Isaac Adewole, Co-chair of the African Cancer Coalition.
Read more about Allied Against Cancer.
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