Breast cancer chatbot to launch in US

A chatbot helping patients with breast cancer is to hit the key US market after attracting in 10,000 users in its home market of France.

The French firm Wefight developed Vik Breast, a chatbot, to help with patients’ concerns and unveiled the tech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Vik Breast is a virtual companion that uses artificial intelligence and is able to respond to almost any question from patients, at any time.

The app can also be used by relatives, and an English version will be revealed early next year.

According to Wefight, 2% of women with breast cancer in France have already started using the chatbot for support.

Freely available on IOS and Android platforms and via Facebook Messenger, Vik Breast does not replace a doctor but instead brings everyday tips and helps to improve quality of life for patients.

Topics covered include treatment, how medication should be taken and how to deal with the side effects.

The app can also provide advice on life quality issues such as nutrition, sport and social life, and the impact of the disease and the medication on sexuality.

There is also advice on paying for healthcare, transport, and general advice about detection, prevention methods, diagnosis techniques, chemotherapies, and radiotherapies.

Vik Breast can also send reminders for appointments and taking medication, as well as information about clinical trial recruitment.

All advice is written and checked by doctors or pharmacists and is regularly updated in line with national regulations and scientific publications.

Research has shown that younger patients in particular are happy to engage with chatbot technology.

Late last month a survey from Roche UK showed 82% of patients in the 16-24 age bracket want to see more use of the technology on the NHS, and that 63% would be comfortable with a diagnosis by chatbot.

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