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Local entrepreneur launches AI solution to detect breast cancer

October marks the month of breast cancer awareness in South Africa and with this Kathryn Malherbe, the CEO and founder of Medsol, is currently developing a much-needed tech solution to breast cancer screening.

The innovative AI based software aims to assist in the detection of breast cancer

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Currently, the innovative local entrepreneur is working on the development of deep machine learning (DML) and AI Software that is designed to facilitate breast cancer identification and segmentation for breast ultrasound in the diagnostic imaging sector.

The development of the solution was spurred on by the lack of access that South African women in rural areas have to screenings. According to reports, breast cancer contributes to a high mortality rate of South African women and those living in rural areas.

Malherbe explains the inspiration behind the creation of the software solution.

“We want to make AI available to everyone from all walks of life, not just for patients from private hospitals. There are so many women who face the diagnosis of breast cancer too late, and we want to narrow the gap and allow all women fair and early treatment. Many clinics don’t have the right facilities that are needed, and having biopsies done can take up to six months for a patient to get the answer they need, delaying their standard care.”

Medsol Breast AI

Titled Medsol Breast AI, the innovative tech-based solution incorporates the use of a platform that receives images for ultrasound units in practice. Once these images are received it is sent to a unique system which easily identifies any abnormal breast cancer masses. Not only does the platform identify any abnormal breast cancer masses but it also provides diagnostic solutions, education and much-needed support for patients.

Malherbe provides insight into the AI solution.

“Our software is mobile and hands-free and is ideal for rural-based institutions wanting to improve their diagnostic output. Women living in rural areas experience higher false-positive cancer rates on diagnostic mammography. They also have lower screening mammography uptake and more advanced stage cancer at diagnosis.”

Currently completing her PhD in Clinical Anatomy at the University of Pretoria and having worked in clinical practice for 15 years Malherbe has always been interested in why breast cancer is often missed during traditional ultrasound imaging.

“We employ breast cancer survivors as ambassadors to promote breast education. This boosts the local economy by creating jobs and also helps to break the stigma associated with this disease. Since starting our ambassador campaign in 2020, we have employed over 25 women across the country, and have educated and supported over 122 000 women on our online platform. We are now looking to expand to Tanzania, Zambia and Namibia,” adds Malherbe

Read more: Local emotional intelligence app users significantly grow

Featured image: Ani Kolleshi via Unsplash 

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