AI breakthrough for breast cancer

Breast cancer screening is so important Credit: Public Domain

Researchers have discovered that using a tool known Artificial intelligent Assessment (MIA) raises the chance of detecting breast cancers that might otherwise be missed. 

NHS Grampian in the UK has been working with Kheiron Medical Technologies at the University of Aberdeen to evaluate the effectiveness of this tool.

Staff shortage causes errors

Currently, mammograms are ‘double read’ by two readers from three professional groups: Radiologists, Radiography Technicians and Breast clinicians, but a shortage of staff has led to a workforce crisis in radiology, with fewer qualified staff available and staff ‘burnout’.

Such staff pressure can also lead to longer waiting times for women, and the risk of unnecessary recalls and biopsies due to staff erring on the side of caution.

The study of 10,889 patients discovered that MIA helps to increase accuracy, lowering ‘false positives’, and mitigates staff shortages, so saving costs.  It is estimated that MIA increases efficiency by automating up to 30 per cent of reading workflow.

The researchers argue that more than two million women are screened for breast cancer in the UK every year, but about 20 per cent of tumours are missed by mammogram screening.

They state that the deployment of this tool across the entire NHS would result in a 12 per cent increase in the detection of breast cancer, allowing for earlier detection and better outcomes for women.

Speeding up notice of results

In addition to reducing the notification to women from 14 days to only three days, this new tool helps to reduce their stress and anxiety.

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