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AI More Efficient in Detecting Skin Cancer Than Doctors, Finds Study

On average, flesh and blood dermatologists accurately detected 86.6 percent of skin cancers from the images, compared to 95 percent for the CNN.

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A team from Germany, the United States and France taught an artificial intelligence system to distinguish dangerous skin lesions from benign ones, showing it more than 100,000 images.
There are about 232,000 new cases of melanoma, and 55,500 deaths, in the world each year, the research added.

A computer was better than human dermatologists at detecting skin cancer in a study that pitted human against machine in the quest for better, faster diagnostics, researchers said Tuesday.

A team from Germany, the United States and France taught an artificial intelligence system to distinguish dangerous skin lesions from benign ones, showing it more than 100,000 images.

The machine — a deep learning convolutional neural network or CNN — was then tested against 58 dermatologists from 17 countries, shown photos of malignant melanomas and benign moles.

Just over half the dermatologists were at “expert” level with more than five years of experience, 19 percent had between two and five years’ experience, and 29 percent were beginners with less than two years under their belt.

“Most dermatologists were outperformed by the CNN,” the research team wrote in a paper published in the journal Annals of Oncology.

On average, flesh and blood dermatologists accurately detected 86.6 percent of skin cancers from the images, compared to 95 percent for the CNN.

“The CNN missed fewer melanomas, meaning it had a higher sensitivity than the dermatologists,” the study’s first author Holger Haenssle of the University of Heidelberg said in a statement.

A team from Germany, the United States and France taught an artificial intelligence system to distinguish dangerous skin lesions from benign ones, showing it more than 100,000 images.
On average, flesh and blood dermatologists accurately detected 86.6 percent of skin cancers from the images, compared to 95 percent for the CNN. Pixabay

It also “misdiagnosed fewer benign moles as malignant melanoma… this would result in less unnecessary surgery.”

The dermatologists’ performance improved when they were given more information of the patients and their skin lesions.

The team said AI may be a useful tool for faster, easier diagnosis of skin cancer, allowing surgical removal before it spreads.

There are about 232,000 new cases of melanoma, and 55,500 deaths, in the world each year, they added.

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But it is unlikely that a machine will take over from human doctors entirely, rather functioning as an aid.

Melanoma in some parts of the body, such as the fingers, toes and scalp, are difficult to image, and AI may have difficulty recognizing “atypical” lesions or ones that patients themselves are unaware of.

“Currently, there is no substitute for a thorough clinical examination,” experts Victoria Mar from Monash University in Melbourne and Peter Soyer of the University of Queensland wrote in an editorial published with the study. (VOA)

 

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Males Have Higher Risk of Suffering from Cancer: Study

Researchers explain why cancer risk is higher in males

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DNA differences between men and women may explain why cancer risk is higher in males. Pixabay

DNA differences between men and women may explain why cancer risk is higher in males, according to a new study.

In findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers have reported that loss of function in certain genes of the sex-determining Y chromosome, which is present only in men, may cause them to have an elevated risk for cancer.

Using data from 9,000 individuals, the researchers studied Y-chromosome gene function in patients with various types of cancer. The findings showed that cancer risk increases with loss of function of six key Y-chromosome genes in various types of cells.

“Recent studies have shown that complete loss of the Y chromosome, which is essential to foetal sex differentiation, occurs, with aging, in the cells of some men,” said study author Juan Ramon Gonzalez from Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain.

Cancer DNA
Suppression of the Y chromosome can occur as a result of loss of function in the chromosome. Pixabay

“Although the loss of the Y chromosome has previously been associated with higher incidence of cancer, the causes of this association are poorly understood,” Gonzalez added.

These six Y-chromosome genes are involved in cell-cycle regulation, the failure of which can lead to tumour development.

According to the study, understanding the biological differences between men and women in cancer is crucial for the development of personalised lines of treatment and prevention.

“Men are not only at higher risk of cancer than women, they also face a worse prognosis. In fact, these differences partially account for the lower life expectancy of men,” Gonzalez added.

According to the researchers, although men may be more exposed to carcinogens due to the type of work they do and at higher risk because they are less likely to consult a doctor, the study has shown that there are also biological factors that increase cancer risk among men.

“In fact, it seems that one of these factors can be found in the Y chromosome, the very essence of maleness,” said study lead author Alejandro Caceres.

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Suppression of the Y chromosome can occur as a result of loss of function in the chromosome, which would explain previous findings, or as a result of other mechanisms mediated by the chemical (epigenetic) inactivation of the same regions, the research said.

“Certain environmental exposures, for example to tobacco or other harmful substances, could affect chromosome function and lead to epigenetic modifications,” Gonzalez said. (IANS)