|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2023 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 157-158
Application of metaverse and immersive technology in cancer care
Center for Transdisciplinary Research, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||20-Sep-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||13-Oct-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||06-Jan-2023|
Dr. Namrata Dagli
G-45, Poonam Pride Bungalows, Near Shanti Asiatic School, off S. P. Ring Road, Shela, Ahmedabad - 380 058, Gujarat
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Dagli N. Application of metaverse and immersive technology in cancer care. Adv Hum Biol 2023;13:157-8
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the improvement in technology for establishing a telehealthcare system. Telemedicine has been used extensively during the pandemic for teleconsultations in case of emergency. The technology was implemented successfully in cancer management too. A study reported that remote monitoring improved the quality of life for oral and head-and-neck cancer patients. Recently, concepts like metaverse have been explored for their applications in the health sector. With metaverse, telemedicine could be taken to the next level and can be implemented to improve cancer management. Therefore, i want to emphasise a metaverse's applications in oral cancer management.
Metaverse – a hypothetical iteration of the internet would revolutionise how humans interact and communicate. It stimulates the natural world and creates a virtual digital environment using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). AR and VAR and VR technologies are types of immersive technologies AR combines physical and virtual worlds and allows real-time 3D visualisation. VR provides a virtual environment where user sensory experiences could be similar to the real world. The combined use of AR, VR and AI allows users to immerse in the virtual environment where the person can not only see but also experience the surrounding virtual environment in 3D with Avatars – digital representations of humans in the metaverse.
Every aspect of cancer care could be transformed through virtual clinics in metaverse- diagnosis, treatment, counselling etc. Generally, cancer patients who are immunocompromised and require frequent monitoring will be benefitted from consultations in virtual clinics as it would reduce the number of physical visits to hospitals and clinics to a minimum. Thus, consultations would be more the risk of nasocomial infections would be reduced too. In addition, it would be far more interactive than 2D online communications. Instead of watching a doctor on a 2D screen, the patient would feel they are in the same room or sitting in a virtual clinic. Multiple experts of various specialities can be involved in treatment planning in complex cases through common virtual meeting spaces.
Cancer diagnosis and tumour-removal surgeries could be made with better precision with the help of a VR headset that allows a real-time 3D view of internal anatomical structures. Recently, AR surgery has been performed by neurosurgeons, which involves the use of a headset that enables surgeons to see internal anatomical structures. A cancerous tumour was removed from the spine of a patient. Remote surgeries would be more advanced. Experts could guide the procedure in faraway places even though they are not physically present.
The education of dental and medical students would be far more exciting and effective with virtual 3D classrooms and 3D educational models. The technology would allow students to practice surgical procedures on virtual models before performing them on patients. Special training programmes can be designed for dental medical students and oral health-care professionals for oral cancer detection and oral surgeries.
Community awareness programmes to increase awareness of causes, prevention, and early signs of oral cancer could be designed better in the 3D digital world. The 3D space in the metaverse for displaying images and other information would be much larger than the 2D screens of computers. In addition, they can be more interactive and exciting than programmes in the real world.
Like any other technology, this is not free from adverse effects on health. The significant challenges in its application in the health sector include protecting patients' personal information and privacy. Benefits should be weighed against risks before implementing the technology worldwide.
This technology is still in its infancy. With the development of new diagnostic aids and more advanced surgical techniques, the metaverse and immersive technology can potentially bring a paradigm shift in cancer management and drastically improve the quality of life of cancer patients.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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