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Microsoft Shows Searches Can Boost Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Patients may reveal early symptoms by looking on web for medical terms and treatments

Microsoft Corp. researchers want to give patients and doctors a new tool in the quest to find cancers earlier: web searches. 

Lung cancer can be detected a year prior to current methods of diagnosis in more than one-third of cases by analyzing a patient's internet searches for symptoms and demographic data that put them at higher risk, according to research from Microsoft published Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology. The study shows it's possible to use search data to give patients or doctors enough reason to seek cancer screenings earlier, improving the prospects for treatment for lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.