About one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime
An artificial intelligence program has been developed that is better at spotting breast cancer in mammograms than expert radiologists.
The AI outperformed the specialists by detecting cancers that the radiologists missed in the images, while ignoring features they falsely flagged as possible tumors.
If the program proves its worth in clinical trials, the software, developed by Google Health, could make breast screening more effective and ease the burden on health services such as the NHS where radiologists are in short supply.
“This is a great demonstration of how these technologies can enable and augment the human expert,” said Dominic King, the UK lead at Google Health. “The AI system is saying ‘I think there may be an issue here, do you want to check?’”
About one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Screening programs catch more than 18,000 cases each year in England alone, but tumors are still missed, giving false-negative results, and some women are wrongly suspected of having cancer, in false positives that lead to unnecessary anxiety and invasive biopsies.