New research in the Radiology journal has found Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to be a new weapon in breast cancer detection.

The findings

Studies so far have suggested computers can outperform humans when it comes to diagnosing certain tumours.

It was found an algorithm was better able to distinguish harmless moles from melanoma skin cancer, when stacked up against a group of dermatologists.

In the new study, researchers applied a variation of the same principle to breast cancer and tested out models of AI in breast cancer prediction.

To try to build a better model, Adam Yala, a Ph. D candidate leading this research, exposed an artificial intelligence system to tens of thousands of breast cancer screening images and traditional family history factors.

The study found the artificial intelligence deep-learning models were better than the standard approach in spotting women at high risk of developing breast cancer.

What does this mean?

This means medicine can move forward to achieve more accurate predictions and diagnoses in the breast cancer sector.

“If you know a woman is at high risk, maybe she can be screened more frequently,” Yala said.

Arkadiusz Sitek, a senior scientist at IBM Watson Health, said, in the foreseeable future AI will serve as “a radiologist’s assistant” — helping to improve efficiency and watch out for “errors and inconsistencies”.

“The ultimate hope is to be able to tailor breast cancer screening to individual women,” said lead researcher Yala.

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