New AI tool for diagnosing breast cancer could save NHS £280million | The Sun

A GROUNDBREAKING new AI tool could revolutionise breast cancer prognosis – saving thousands of lives and the NHS millions. 

A new study has found that the diagnostic technology, called Digistain, could cut emissions, reduce chemotherapy prescriptions by up to 30 per cent and save the NHS £287 million, if it were to replace current systems used to assess breast cancer biopsy results. 

The independent health economic study, carried out by Health Tech Connect supported by the UK government, said Digistain would “lead to improved health outcomes” and “cost savings”.

More than 55,000 Brits are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and there are almost 11,500 deaths from the disease. 

Using special scanning technology to identify and predict risk of cancer recurrence, Digistain “speeds up biopsy analysis where time and swift action are precious commodities,” says clinical scientist and its inventor, Dr Hemmel Amrania. 

The tech, if implemented, could offer patients hope and help them better understand their disease and the possible treatment paths available. 

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Developed at London’s Imperial College and Cancer Research UK laboratories, Digistain has already been successfully trialled at a number of NHS Trusts, including Nottingham University Hospital and London’s Charing Cross Hospital.

Sharaz Khan, NHS head of pathology at the Northampton General Hospital, an early adopter of Digistain, says the tech could be a game changer.

Khan said: "Digistain cuts down wait times for results massively when compared to our current provider, who is sending samples to the US for analysis. 

“The turnaround time with Digistain is much quicker, it is more accurate and cheaper. 

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“The backlogs caused by the pandemic and industrial actions mean that fast paced technology like this can really be the difference between life and death. 

“I have worked for the NHS for 25 years and it is innovation like this that will open up a new digital pathway and frontier for the NHS – and help future-proof it.”

EastEnders star and breast cancer survivor Samantha Womack has called for Digistain to be widely adopted by the NHS.

Although she didn’t know about it when she was undergoing treatment, she has since said she was “anxious not to have chemotherapy” if she didn’t need the “brutal treatment”.

Had Digistain been available, she may have had more clarity when making treatment choices. 

Dr Amrania added: “This new and independent study demonstrates the significant economic and emissions savings that the NHS could achieve by adopting Digistain. 

“This is a dynamic solution and one that speeds up the process, reducing anxiety for patients and cost. 

“Ultimately, and most importantly, we hope Digistain can help to save many thousands of lives.”

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