Mathematical formula can actually help specialists make predictions using computers and this can prove to be a road map to better treatment of cancer patients.
During the study, specialists found that forecast of future symptoms experienced by a set of patients undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy was possible with the help of computer software. It enabled a better evaluation and assessment, much more than oncologists with great experience.
"If models based on a patient, tumor and treatment characteristics already out-perform the doctors, then it is unethical to make treatment decisions based solely on the doctors' opinion. We believe models should be implemented in clinical practice to guide decisions," said Dr Cary Oberije of Maastricht University Medical Hospital in The Netherlands.
"In our opinion, individualized treatment can only succeed if prediction models are used in clinical practice. We have shown that current models already outperform doctors. Therefore, this study can be used as a strong argument in favour of using prediction models and changing current clinical practice. We know that there are many factors that play a role in the prognosis of patients and prediction models can combine them all. Our study shows that it is very unlikely that a doctor can outperform a model," she said.