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Somerset NHS Foundation Trust to deploy AI tool for prostate cancer


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Prostate disease
Image source: Haneefa Nizamudeen

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is planning to equip its radiologists with an AI tool to support the detection of prostate cancer in patients.

It will be the first trust in the UK to use the Pi tool developed by Lucida Medical, at Yeovil District and Musgrove Park hospitals.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Prostate Cancer Research are also supporting the project, in which the tool will use an AI technique to look at prostate MRI scans.

It has already been put through trials by the trust, used to compare results to radiologists’ reports for over 700 patients.

Simple process

Dr Paul Burn, a consultant radiologist at Somerset NHS FT, said: “The way it works is really simple – within a few minutes of the patient having their MRI scan, the Pi tool displays a number that gives a probability of cancer on the scan. It also shows the exact location of any tumours in the prostate by adding a colour overlay to the scan images.

“The software is located securely on a server within the hospital, so no patient data leaves the trust.

“Using it, we expect to help relieve pressure within our hospital, by enabling patients to go through the diagnostic pathway more rapidly and reducing diagnostic waiting times. It will also support our clinical departments that have smaller numbers of MRI reporters to manage their workload.

“We know that we have to be very careful with the way we use AI, and it’s absolutely not intended to replace a human being in any way. Instead, it’s simply helping to speed up the workflow and potentially aiding our radiologists provide a more accurate diagnosis.

“In many ways we’re using it as a ‘reporting buddy’, so it’ll help with prioritising patients based on clinical need, and telling us which patients we should report on first because they have a higher probability of cancer.”


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