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AI-assisted breast-cancer screening may reduce unnecessary testing

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | April 12, 2024 Women's Health

For example, consider the largest dataset, which contained 11,592 mammograms. When scaled to 10,000 mammograms (to make the math simpler for the purposes of the simulation), AI identified 34.9% as negative. If those 3,485 negative mammograms had been removed from the workload, radiologists would have made 897 callbacks for diagnostic exams, a reduction of 23.7% from the 1,159 they made in reality. At the next step, 190 people would have been called in a second time for biopsies, a reduction of 6.9% from the 200 in reality. At the end of the process, both the AI rule-out and real-world standard-of-care approaches identified the same 55 cancers. In other words, this study of AI suggests that out of 10,000 people who underwent initial mammograms, 262 could have avoided diagnostic exams, and 10 could have avoided biopsies, without any cancer cases being missed.

“At the end of the day, we believe in a world where the doctor is the superhero who finds cancer and helps patients navigate their journey ahead,” said co-author Jason Su, co-founder and chief technology officer at Whiterabbit.ai. “The way AI systems can help is by being in a supporting role. By accurately assessing the negatives, it can help remove the hay from the haystack so doctors can find the needle more easily. This study demonstrates that AI can potentially be highly accurate in identifying negative exams. More importantly, the results showed that automating the detection of negatives may also lead to a tremendous benefit in the reduction of false positives without changing the cancer detection rate.”

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