Game-changers, 5 cents a claim

Posted in Cancer, Culture of Lickspittle at 8:43 am by George Smith

Catering to the American love of technology expressed as mountains of computer servers, wires and really big numbers, this CNN story on how Watson — the IBM supercomputer celebrity — could be a game-changer in cancer diagnosis.

In the case of my deceased friend, no number of suggested diagnoses, arranged in a prioritized list, would have made a difference. And so that would be with many, many cancers, often discovered too late to cure. Unfortunately, that’s frequently the nature of it.

The partnership here is between Sloan-Kettering cancer hospital in New York and IBM. The hospital will turn over all its cancer case histories to Watson’s brain.

One of those will be my father’s. He was diagnosed early. It didn’t save him although he lasted five years through a succession of agonizingly difficult treatments. He did not actually die at Sloan-Kettering.

His last trip involved a suggestion that he undergo a round of chemotherapy but that the prospects were not good. He left the hospital for a quack cure in the Bahamas and died a few weeks later.

Today I wonder what’s in his file at Sloan-Kettering and how that kind of thing makes much of a difference lost in the ocean of Watson’s data storage media.

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