Study: AI Breast Cancer Screening as Good as Two Radiologists

    Study: AI Breast Cancer Screening as Good as Two Radiologists
    Last updated Aug 02, 2023
    Image credit: Unsplash


    • A Swedish study of more than 80K women published in the journal Lancet Oncology has found that artificial intelligence (AI) screening for breast cancer can reduce mortality by spotting the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage. It adds that AI could cut the workload of radiologists almost in half.
    • While the standard European screening process — where two radiologists screen mammograms — discovered 203 cases of breast cancer, the group of individual doctors assisted by AI found 244 cases, or 20% more. Both groups had a false positive rate of 1.5%.
    • The study also suggested that if radiologists read about 50 mammograms per hour, it would have taken a single radiologist four to six months less to read roughly 40k screening exams with the help of AI than it would take two radiologists alone.
    • Of the 41 extra diagnoses made with AI assistance, 19 were invasive, and 22 were in situ cancers. There were also 36,886 fewer screen readings by radiologists in the AI group compared with the standard care group, a 44% difference.
    • AI is already transforming the medical industry, with the technology being used to assist surgeons operating on brain tumors.


    Narrative A

    AI should be replacing human doctors where it can, but first, we need to quell the distrust of the technology by patients. As AI has been proven to perform as well or better than humans in areas such as cancer screening and dispensing medical data to patients, projections show 80% of the work doctors do and 90% of what hospitals do can be undertaken by these genius machines. While fearing the unknown is understandable, we must work to reassure people that they'll be better served by AI than humans, who are prone to mistakes.

    Narrative B

    While AI is certainly a boon to the medical field and will drastically improve patient care, the need for human connection in medicine will never be lost. Just as robots replaced many, but not all, bank tellers and retail workers, AI will assume the responsibilities of some medical professionals while also being used to empower and strengthen the capabilities of doctors. Fears of a human-less doctor's office should go away, and we should look at this as a win for our health.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 92% chance that there will be Human-Machine intelligence parity before 2040, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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