Screening for cancer today, may require merely snapping a selfie. Researchers have developed a solution that could utilize smartphone technology and 3D printing effectively to screen for diseases such as pancreatic cancer which has one of the worst survival rates (as per Cancer Research UK)
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose and one of its early signs, Jaundice is visible to the naked eye in the form of yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes due to increased bilirubin levels, in severe stages.
Researchers propose BiliScreen as a solution to detect pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage. In a 70-person clinical study, BiliScreen was used with accessories such a 3D printed box controlling the effects of external lighting with colored squares for calibration. The solution examines the person’s selfie and measures the levels of jaundice in the person’s eyes utilizing computer vision and machine learning. The app measures the coloration of the sclera, and isolates the white parts of the eye in the image. Machine learning algorithms assess the light wavelengths being reflected and absorbed to assess the eyes’ bilirubin levels indicating jaundice. According to Alex Mariakakis, the lead author of the study, “If people can do this simple test once a month — in the privacy of their own homes — some might catch pancreatic cancer early enough to undergo treatment that could save their lives.”
The study also showed that BiliScreen was able to accurately identify cases of pancreatic cancer 89.7 percent of the time, compared to standard blood tests.