AI model improves breast cancer detection on mammograms


Breast cancer is most commonly found on a mammogram. Mammograms unfortunately, like most diagnostic tests, are not
perfect and can’t always catch the cancer. In fact, up to one in five women
can have their cancer missed on a mammogram. There are two main challenges with diagnosing breast cancer with a mammogram. The first is a false negative
or missing a cancer. There’s the other side of the equation, which is a false
positive, which means we think they have cancer when they don’t actually have
cancer. Computers learn a lot like humans. They learn by example and in order
to teach a computer how to interpret mammograms, we had to show it many, many examples — those that contain cancer and those that don’t. And we supervise it and
we say these are the cases that are positive and these the cases are
negative. And after many, many iterations and showing them and through trial and
error, it will eventually learn to get things right. So we had six radiologists
look at all these cases and decide whether they thought cancer was present
or not. We had the algorithm do the same task but it did much better. The most
exciting part of this work is that we’re able to catch 9% more cancer at
screening. Also very exciting is that we’re able to reduce the amount of false
positives by 5.7%. This mammogram shows a malignancy outlined in yellow
that all six radiologist missed but our algorithm caught. However there were also cases that all six radiologists caught but the algorithm didn’t. And so
it’s clear that they’re making hopefully complimentary decisions, and
we’re excited by the synergy of putting them two together. We definitely want to
use this AI tool clinically. The best way to do that is to provide it as a tool to
clinicians to use. In many cases with AI, using these tools allows clinicians to
have significantly more free time to concentrate on what we all went to
medical school for, which is to actually take care of patients. We’re excited
about empowering radiologists with these tools and hoping they become ubiquitous,
such as spellcheck now permeates your life. You wouldn’t think about writing an
email without spellcheck. And we hope a doctor wouldn’t interpret a mammogram
without the use of some AI assistance.

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