Artificial intelligence (AI) has been revolutionizing the medical field in recent years. From diagnosing diseases to aiding in surgeries, AI is being used in various ways to help improve healthcare. But perhaps one of the most exciting uses for AI is in breast cancer screening and diagnosis.
With its ability to analyze mammograms, assess risk factors, and provide more precise treatments, AI holds the potential to be a powerful tool that can significantly reduce breast cancer mortality rates. But can it replace doctors? Let’s dive into what AI can do in diagnosing and treating breast cancer and how it might stack up against doctors.
Efficiently Reads Mammograms
Mammograms are one of the most common methods for detecting breast cancer, but they can be challenging to interpret and may miss some cancers. AI can help by analyzing mammogram images and identifying suspicious areas that may indicate cancer. In one study, an AI system was found to be more accurate and outperform six radiologists in reading mammograms. In addition, it was able to detect more cancers than traditional methods and also reduce false positives.
Risk Assessment Tool
Another way AI is being used in breast cancer diagnosis is through risk assessment tools. These tools use patient data such as age, family history, lifestyle factors, and other health information to calculate a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. This can help doctors identify those who are at higher risk so they can receive additional screenings or preventive measures if necessary.
A new study from the Cancer Registry of Norway in Oslo, led by Solveig Hofvind, Ph.D., compared the performance of a commercially available AI system for breast cancer screening to traditional double reading as performed in a population-based screening program. The study used data from over 47,000 women and 752 screen-detected cancers, and 205 interval cancers. The AI system had an accuracy rate of 87.6% for screen-detected cancers and 44.9% for interval cancers when using the average individual radiologist threshold. Although the results of this study are promising, more research is necessary to confirm its effectiveness in a real-world setting.
Provide Personalized Treatment Planning
AI also has potential applications in personalized treatment planning for those who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer. By analyzing tumor samples and other patient data, AI systems can help doctors determine which treatments are likely to be most effective for each individual patient based on their unique characteristics.
Teams at IBM are experimenting with this technology and have found that, more often than not, there are multiple viable treatment options available. This model could enable doctors to consider the best-practice experiences of their colleagues when making decisions about a patient’s treatment, helping them to make more informed choices.
Will AI Replace Doctors?
So far, it appears that AI has great potential when it comes to diagnosing and treating breast cancer. However, there are still many questions about how this technology will impact healthcare in the long run. Will it eventually replace physicians?
While it’s unlikely that AI will ever completely replace doctors, it could certainly play an important role in improving healthcare delivery by providing more accurate diagnoses and better treatment options for patients with breast cancer. With further research into this technology and its applications in healthcare settings, we may soon see even greater advances that will revolutionize how we diagnose and treat this disease going forward.