New AI approach outperforms human experts in identifying cervical pre-cancer

Maricruz Casares
Enero 13, 2019

"In fact, the computer analysis of the images was better at identifying precancer than a human expert reviewer of Pap tests under the microscope (cytology)".

According to NCI, because of its convenience and low cost, VIA is widely used where more advanced screening methods are not available.

In the new study, researchers have developed a novel artificial intelligence (AI) based algorithm which can identify cervical cancer.

"The vaccine which protects girls child for life, will only work effectively in girls below age of 14 particularly those who have not engaged in any sexual debut, otherwise if already involved any form of sexual activities it will mean that they are already exposed to the virus which causes cervical cancer", he said. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, in 2014, 122,844 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in India, whereas 432.2 million women aged 15 years or above are at risk of developing cancer. "While cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for USA women, this is no longer true".

"Cervical cancer is now a disease of poverty", says lead author of the new study, Mark Schiffman, a doctor at the National Cancer Institute near Washington, who has been working for 35 years against this cancer. The cervical cancer test is segmented into Pap test, HPV test, and visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) test. A health worker applies diluted acetic acid (a main component of vinegar) to the cervix and then visually examines the cervix.

They used this information and the photos to "train" AI technology to detect who will and won't need treatment.

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Because of the prospective nature of the study, the researchers gained almost complete information on which cervical changes became pre-cancers and which did not.

"Machine learning actually outperformed human experts by a considerable margin". To understand the competitive landscape in the market, an analysis of Porter's Five Forces model for the cervical cancer diagnostics market has also been included in the study. "Eventually, you'll just need a cellphone and you could put an app on it", Schiffman said.

Artificial intelligence could be much more accurate than humans and traditional tests to detect cervical pre-cancers, according to U.S. researchers Thursday. "So visualization and treatment at the same visit are much better for the patients", Wu noted.

Dr. Amanda Shepherd-Littlejohn, an oncologist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., agreed. Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease that can be prevented by early detection and vaccination. The approach was created collaboratively by investigators at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Global Good (link is external), a fund at Intellectual Ventures, and the findings were confirmed independently by experts at the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

The health department, along with the Sampson County Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) Advisory Board will promote the "Teal Ribbon Campaign" which serves as a reminder for all women to get cervical screenings.

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