Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Help With Cancer?

In the world of artificial intelligence (AI), opinions vary from adoration to aversion, with many still in the dark about its capabilities. Personally, I was a bit late to the AI game, but once I started using it (I'm a fan of ChatGPT), I was blown away.

Experimenting with ChatGPT

This is where artificial intelligence became fascinating to me. I hadn't even considered using AI until a few months ago when I attempted to explain how AI functions to my wife, Rebekah. She was having trouble grasping the concept, so I decided to demonstrate.

Asking AI about chemotherapy symptoms

We sat down, and I began asking ChatGPT random questions. Rebekah's eyes widened as she witnessed the thorough and detailed responses that came back. Then I asked, "I'm going through chemotherapy, and I suffer from terrible nausea. Can you give me 10 ideas on how to reduce nausea from chemotherapy?"

ChatGPT's response was immediate, "Certainly!"

Within seconds, we had 10 solid ideas for easing nausea! While we are familiar with most of the suggested remedies, 2 were new to us!

Medication questions

I then thought of a random question and asked, "Can people taking Herceptin® also take Aspirin®?" You might be wondering how ChatGPT would know the answer, but it provided an answer in 7 paragraphs!

The first 2 paragraphs explained Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and Aspirin® (acetylsalicylic acid) and their uses. The next paragraph prompted us to always consult with a healthcare professional before applying the advice in the remaining answer.

Is AI clinically accurate?

However, I do need to issue a strong caution. Artificial intelligence is not a doctor. It's not even a human. It's algorithms and software. While AI is extremely impressively intelligent, it does make regular errors. Studies are being conducted to assess and evaluate the clinical accuracy of ChatGPT, and currently, its clinical accuracy is around 72 percent.1

Using AI with discernment

While AI tools can help guide you with new ideas, you should refrain from using it or relying on it for initial diagnoses, treatment plans, medication usage, or anything else reserved for a trained medical professional.

As many know, you must use discernment when researching information online. For example, WebMD is an excellent resource for medical information, but my wife has also freaked herself out too many times by feeling some new pain or symptom, checking WebMD, and then thinking that she's going to die.

I finally told her, "Don't look at WebMD about this. We are not qualified for this. We need to ask your doctor about it." You can create the same type of unnecessary panic or, worse, misdiagnosis (and attempt to treat) yourself in the same way with AI applications like ChatGPT.

AI has potential to help those with cancer

But for simple daily living issues, like tips to combat nausea, it can be a valuable tool in helping fight against metastatic breast cancer and the many challenges it brings.

You (or your loved one) may suffer from some particular side effect from cancer treatment. You can ask AI for ideas and suggestions to alleviate those issues. You may have questions or concerns about a specific treatment, such as radiation. You can ask AI about it. You can ask for the pros and cons of combatting your fear.

Or maybe you're struggling with an emotional issue, like feeling ugly or inadequate because you lost your hair. You can ask AI for ideas or techniques to feel more confident.

An example of AI in action

For this article, I asked, "Can you give me 10 practical daily living ideas on how AI can help individuals with cancer?" The list of ideas and applications is almost endless.

Here's what it said, "Certainly! Here are 10 practical daily living ideas for individuals with cancer, utilizing AI to improve their quality of life." It then listed these 10 categories with brief explanations:

  • Symptom management assistance
  • Nutritional guidance
  • Medication management
  • Emotional support and counseling
  • Physical activity guidance
  • Sleep improvement strategies
  • Financial and legal assistance
  • Transportation and logistics support
  • Community resources and support groups
  • Self-care and wellness tips

If you want to delve deeper into any of those topics, you can ask ChatGPT and explore further through your questions. But remember, it's always best to consult your doctor or healthcare team.

How to ask clear questions to ChatGPT

Here's a tip when using AI apps: be clear and specific with your questions. I formulate my questions as if I'm explaining to a 10-year-old. I spell out exactly what I want and provide examples, and if the answer isn't satisfactory (AI doesn't know everything and can make mistakes), I ask the question differently.

If you have yet to try AI tools, I recommend using ChatGPT 3.5. It's free and user-friendly. And if you discover helpful ways to assist with metastatic breast cancer, please share them in the comments.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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