AI Outperforms Experts in Identifying Cervical Precancer

AI outperforms humans in identifying cervical cancer

Last Updated: January 10, 2019.

Despite major advances in screening and vaccination, which can prevent the spread of human papillomavirus which causes most cases of cervical cancer, those gains have mainly benefited women in rich nations. But researchers say a new "AI" technique might help.

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

The technology has not been patented on objective, Schiffman said.

"Cervical cancer is now a disease of poverty, of low resources", said senior author Mark Schiffman, a doctor at the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics near Washington who has been searching for a cure to cervical cancer for 35 years.

The cervical cancer starts in the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb).

For most women, HPV will go away on its own; however, some women will experience persistent HPV infection that over time may cause cervical cancer, the America Cancer Society reported.

"Overall, cervical cancer screening has been a huge success story", MacLaughlin said.

During the month of January, they encourage women to schedule their Pap test, or to talk with their health care provider about when it is right for them to be screened. But it isn't almost as accurate as more advanced screening techniques, according to the researchers.

For the future, the researchers hope to put the program onto a cellphone so that any woman in any country would be able to take a photo of their cervix and get their results back quickly. Their health was followed for as long as 18 years. Furthermore, advancements in technology also plays an important role in boosting growth of the colposcope market.

The AI solutions which are called automated visual evaluation now has the potential to revolutionize the cervical cancer screening, in the low resource settings, according to the NCI press statement.

"Machine learning actually outperformed human experts by a considerable margin".

Many local health departments offer free breast screenings, education and referral services to eligible women through the NC Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP). "Eventually, you'll just need a cellphone and you could put an app on it", Schiffman said.

Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY who was not involved in the research, called the findings "very exciting".

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University gynecological oncology professor Sabera Khatun said the human papillomavirus is a very common virus caused by intercourse, but nearly 90 per cent of human papillomavirus is cleared naturally by women's immune system. "So visualization and treatment at the same visit are much better for the patients", Wu noted. However, it is known to be inaccurate and needs improvement.

The most common symptoms for cervical cancer would be abnormal bleeding or discomfort in that area. 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).

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