According to a research paper published by Nature, an Artificial Intelligence tool is being developed by Google to help doctors in identifying breast cancer. This model scans mammograms (X-Ray images) and reduces the number of false-negatives by 9.4 percentage. This is a good leap forward for a test that nearly misses 20 percent of breast cancers as reported by The NewYork Times.
Breast Cancer is the disease that is causing the second most number of deaths in the case of women. It is dominated only by Lung Cancer which is leading the cause of deaths in the case of women. The best defense for this disease is early detection, which most people have in both identifying and treating the disease. “Mammograms are a common detection tool for identifying breast cancer. Yet we cannot rely completely on Mammograms, as there is a problem with false negatives and false positives,” Shravya Shetty told The Verge, who co-authored the research paper.
“Google, funded the research, to study anonymized Mammograms of more than 28,000 women from the UK and around 3,000 women in the US. According to Google’s blog post, the team trained AI to scan X-ray images first, then looked for breast cancer signs by detecting changes in the breasts of these women. They then checked the computer’s guesses with the actual medical outcomes of the women,” says Shetty.
They were able to reduce false negatives by 9.4 percent and false positives by 5.7 percent in the US. In the UK, two radiologists double-checked the results and found that false negatives were reduced by 2.7 percent and false positives by 1.2 percent. “With this, we can say that the model gives better and accurate results as compared to a local radiologist,” says Christopher Kelly, a Google scientist who co-authored the paper told Wired.
“The AI model was not perfect. There were times when the system outperformed the doctors, and sometimes doctors performed way better than the system,” Mozziyar Etemadi, a researcher at the Northwestern University and also co-authored the paper told The Wall Street Journal.
“Google has been careful while framing this research as it wanted to help the radiologists and not replace them. They have their strengths and weaknesses. There are several instances where the radiologists fail to catch the symptoms and vice versa,” says Shetty.
This project is a part of the Goggle’s ongoing efforts to extend its services to the health sector. For breast cancer study, Google partnered with many clinical researchers in the UK and the US and the data that is already identified was used for this purpose.