One of the most commonly occurring cancers among females, breast cancer affects millions of women around the world every year. More than 2 million new cases of breast cancer were reported in 2018 alone. However, despite increasing awareness and advancement in diagnostic techniques, early detection of breast cancer continues to be a challenge for the medical fraternity.
Challenges for early detection in the current systems
Mammography is one of the most widely used screening method to detect breast cancer. It employs x-ray imaging to spot and diagnose breast cancer. However, reading these x-ray images can be a difficult task even for experienced professionals. Therefore, it sometimes leads to inaccurate reports. It can further lead to unnecessary stress due to incorrect diagnosis or increased risk to life.
AI to help radiologists with the screenings
However, Google has brought some much needed hope with its AI tool. The company is developing an AI based model to spot breast cancer during the mamogram screenings.
Although the AI model is still in its early phases of development, it seems to have a huge potential in our battle against Breast Cancer. Google’s initial research findings published in Nature have revealed that its AI model can spot breast cancer in screening mammograms with greater accuracy than the experts.
The AI model was tuned on a data set of de-identified mammograms from over 90,000 women from the United States and the United Kingdom in order to train it to spot signs of breast cancer in the scans. The model was later evaluated on the basis of its results for another dataset of de-identified mammograms of more than 3,000 women in the US and more than 25,000 women in the UK.
Researchers have claimed that the AI system produced a 1.2% and 2.7% reduction in the false positives and false negatives in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, it also produced a reduction of 5.7% and 9.4% in false positives and false negatives respectively in the United States.
Moreover, medical professionals usually have access to the medical history of the patient which further assist them in the screening process. However, the AI model was provided with only the most recent mammogram and no extra information for evaluation.
Key Partners for Clinical Research
Notably, Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre, Northwestern University, Royal Surrey County Hospital, and Deep Mind have also partnered to help Google with clinical research. But, the AI model would require more research, clinical studies, and regulatory approval practical application.