Artificial Intelligence (AI) Could Improve Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Every October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month helps expand public knowledge of breast cancer, its risk factors, and its treatments.

For example, did you know that the rate of breast cancer in men, though rare, has been rising in recent years? The American Cancer Society estimates that 2019 will see approximately 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer among men. One of those most famous, recent cases is Mathew Knowles, father of Beyoncé.

Breast cancer has also been a major target for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in radiology. In both men and women, new AI technology is enhancing how radiologists detect and diagnose it.

AI can improve breast cancer diagnosis

While the American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for most women over 45, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends less aggressive screening because so many mammograms yield false positives. This leads to stress and unnecessary testing for patients.

Researchers at Stanford developed an AI model in an attempt to reduce false positives without missing real cancer cases. They built their machine-learning model with more than 112,000 mammography cases collected from 13 radiologists, including patient risk factors and the actual presence of cancer.

When the researchers compared the radiologists’ performance against the AI, radiologists reported 176 false negatives and 12,476 false positives. The AI model missed one additional cancer but decreased the number of false alarms by 3,612 cases. This indicates that AI has the potential to improve radiologists’ performance.

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Hello, I'm Kristi!

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