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AI more has been shown to be effective than humans in detecting breast cancer

In a study, a new AI system has been shown to be more effective than doctors at detecting breast cancer in mammograms.

Plus one Cancer the earlier the breast is detected, the higher the chances of survival. This is why women are recommended to have mammograms regularly. This tool is very effective, but it is not perfect. It is estimated today that one in five breast cancer is not detected by this method. Over a period of ten years, it is also estimated that one in two women will have a false positive diagnosis at some point.

AI system surpasses experts

In recent years, several teams of researchers have been developing artificial intelligence in order to improve the accuracy of these results. Developed by Google Health, a new system has been shown to be particularly effective in the analysis of mammograms.

Originally trained on 91,000 breast x-rays, the system was recently tested on two large data sets involving 28,000 other mammograms. The first concerned American women and the second English women.

In the American dataset, the software diagnosed 5.7% fewer false positives compared to a human doctor. The system also registered 9.4% fewer false negatives, which suggests that he detected more breast cancer missed by the doctor.

Regarding the English data, the mammograms were this time examined by two separate radiologists. The margin of human error has therefore been reduced. However, AI still performed better with 1.2% less false positives and 2.7% less false negatives.

The second part of the study involved pitting six American radiologists against the AI ​​system against the analysis of 500 random mammograms. Again, the system detected several cancers missed by the six experts. However, a case detected by them had been missed by artificial intelligence. So the tool is not perfect, but it still shows amazing results.

breast cancer
In the yellow box, the AI ​​system found cancer hidden inside the breast tissue. The six radiologists hadn’t detected it. Credits: Northwestern University

AI to support doctors

Ultimately, for researchers, the idea is not to replace doctors, but to assist them in order to to speed up the current diagnostic process.

This is an excellent demonstration of how these technologies could support human experts“Says Dominic King, one of the study’s co-authors. “The AI ​​system could report a possible abnormality on an x-ray and ask the doctor to check behind“.

In general, the development of AI is fairly well received by professionals in the medical sector. According to an article published recently by the MIT Technology review, 80% of the 900 interviewed believe that these systems have already helped reduce the exhaustion of health personnel. Artificial intelligence would also free up time for doctors to spend more with their patients.


Related articles:

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A breast cancer prevention label on cheese?

Yes, alcohol does increase the risk of breast cancer


  1. Let’s not forget the real big picture behind the massive mass media dissemination blast of this so-called study. Mammograms should be abolished for NUMEROUS scientifically solid reasons despite the MISLEADING concept of better diagnosis pushed by the highly profiteering corrupt corporate medical industry (which google is part of because it founded “Calico”, is a stakeholder in “One Medical”, etc) — read the books: ‘Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy’ by Peter Gotzsche and ‘The Mammogram Myth’ by Rolf Hefti


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