AI system can detect breast cancer better than experts study finds

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An artificial intelligence programme has been developed which can detect breast cancer from mammograms better than experts, a study has revealed.

New research from a team including Cambridge-based Cancer Research UK has found the AI system gives 1.2 percent fewer incorrect diagnoses (false positives) and 2.7 percent fewer missed cases (false negatives) than radiologists in the UK.

Cambridge based Cancer Research UK was involved in the study. Credit: PA

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK - with around 55,000 people diagnosed every year, according to Cancer Research UK.

Currently, one in seven women in the UK develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The programme was developed by Google Health in collaboration with DeepMind, Cancer Research UK, Northwestern University, and Royal Surrey County Hospital.

The team said that the latest study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, “set the stage” for the model to potentially support radiologists performing breast cancer screenings.

Currently in the UK, it takes 10 years to train as a radiologist and at least two to assess mammograms.

There are hopes that the system could help with breast cancer diagnoses in the future, but there are no plans for it to be used yet as further testing still needs to take place.

Should the AI come to be used in hospitals, mammograms could be assessed 24-hours a day, but decisions would still be overseen by radiologists.

The study found further testing still needs to take place. Credit: PA