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Presenting Cancer Information through Data Visualization

In health care, the basic need to represent Information from analyzed data sets plays a significant role in providing both medical researchers and patients with accurate reports on the cause and effects of certain illnesses as well as their reaction to diverse treatment plans which allows both parties make better decisions.

This clarity of information which is highly needed in the study of cancerous cells and in exploring cancer drivers, studying cause and effect relationships between diverse variations and profiling patient patterns, can be aided by visualizing data sets.

Cancer as a Case Study

Data visualization has been used to study and provide some answers to several questions referring to the growth of cancer, patient demographics and treatment patterns that have been raised in several researches. The use of visualization techniques have identified cancer to be a highly irregular disease but also provided clarity in major areas such as:

  • Exploring Cancer Drivers: the use of data visualization has helped researchers distinguish separate alterations from confusing side effects that truly give cancer cells an added advantage in the human body. Some of these alterations have been mapped out in separate genes and can be viewed through data tools—Gitools—that can be used to visualize particular genes and their corresponding changes due to cancer.

 A Screen shot of the Gitool courtesy of www.gitool.org

  • Visualizing Cause and Effect: with the use of cBio Cancer Genomics Portal, researchers can visualize data sets that show how certain factors such as; Singular Nucleotide Variants, Changes in methylation, affect both altered and unaltered genes.
  • Visualizing Mutation Patterns: Data visualization is also been used in cancer research to track, record and show the mutation process of cancerous tumors through a treatment process or when left untreated. The visualization graphics represent the mutation phases in layered circles with the changes occurring in the innermost circles.

 Cancer Genome Mutation

  • Recording National Demographics: the data gotten from the study of cancer patients in a population as well as the continuous increase or decrease in the chosen sample population can easily be recorded and represented with the use of data visualization tools.

Image courtesy of www.cancerresearchuk.org

These results can then be used worldwide in gatherings of both professional health care providers and non-professionals, to send a clear and precise message across concerning the progress in cancer treatment available to the general public.

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