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Google's AI just beat humans at spotting Breast Cancer !

Google's AI just beat humans at spotting Breast Cancer !

Artificial intelligence is achieving a new milestone every day.Today, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, beat out only by lung cancer in its deadliness and overall prevalence. Early detection is the best defense most people have in identifying and treating the disease. Yet while mammograms are the most common detection tool, they miss a large number of cases.

In the study,Usually, breast cancer screening is done by scanning mammograms (or X-ray images of the breast), but they have limitations. They might give either a false-positive or false-negative result. which Google funded, researchers used anonymized mammograms from more than 25,000 women in the UK and 3,000 women in the US. “We tried to follow the same principles radiologists might follow,” Shetty says. According to Google’s blog post, the team first trained AI to scan X-ray images, then looked for signs of breast cancer by identifying changes in the breasts of the 28,000 women. They then checked the computer’s guesses against the women's’ actual medical outcomes.

Ultimately, they were able to reduce false negatives by 9.4 percent and cut down false positives by 5.7 percent for women in the United States. In the UK, where two radiologists typically double-check the results, the model cut down false negatives by 2.7 percent and reduced false positives by 1.2 percent. “The model performs better than an individual radiologist in both the UK and the US,” Christopher Kelly, a scientist at Google who co-authored the paper, tells Wired.

The system was not perfect. While researchers found that AI outperformed doctors in identifying breast cancer in most cases, there were also instances where doctors flagged cancer that the model originally missed. “Sometimes, all six U.S. readers caught a cancer that slipped past the AI, and vice versa,” Mozziyar Etemadi, a researcher at Northwestern University said.

Google says it’s hopeful the system can eventually be used in clinical settings. “We’re very excited and encouraged by these results,” says Daniel Tse, a product manager at Google who also co-authored the paper. He tells The Verge that the team is currently working to ensure the findings can be generalized across populations. “There’s obviously quite a bit of nuance when you put this into clinical practice,” he adds.

The project is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to expand into the field of healthcare. Earlier this year, the tech giant partnered with Ascension to gain access to the health records of millions of American citizens. That project came under fire after a whistleblower alleged the health records were not being anonymized. For the breast cancer study, Google partnered with clinical researchers in the US and UK, and used data that had already been de-identified.

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