AI 'outperforms' doctors diagnosing breast cancer

2020/08/19 21:05

Today's Vocabulary

1.mammograms (n) 
an X-ray photograph of the breasts

2.outperformed (v) 
to do well in a particular job or activity compared to others of a similar type 

3. algorithm (n) 
a set of mathematical instructions or rules that , especially if given to a computer
, will help to calculate an answer to a problem

4. anonymised (v) 
to remove any information that shows which particular person
something relates to

5. diagnosing (v) 
to recognize and name the exact character of a disease or a problem
, by examining it

AI 'outperforms' doctors diagnosing breast cancer

Artificial intelligence is more accurate than doctors in diagnosing breast cancer from mammograms, a study in the journal Nature suggests.

An international team, including researchers from Google Health and Imperial College London, designed and trained a computer model on X-ray images from nearly 29,000 women.The algorithm outperformed six radiologists in reading mammograms.

AI was still as good as two doctors working together.Unlike humans, AI is tireless. Experts say it could improve detection.

The current system in the NHS uses two radiologists to analyse each woman’s X-rays. In rare cases where they disagree, a third doctor assesses the images.

In the research study, an AI model was given anonymised images, so that the women could not be identified. Unlike the human experts, who had access to the patient’s history, AI had only the mammograms to go on.

The results showed that the AI model was as good as the current double-reading system of two doctors. And it was actually superior at spotting cancer than a single doctor.

Dominic King from Google Health said: “Our team is really proud of these research findings, which suggest that we are on our way to developing a tool that can help clinicians spot breast cancer with greater accuracy.”

“In the long term this can only benefit women.” “Artificial intelligence machines don’t get tired… they can work 24/7 whereas a human being can’t do that, so to combine the two is a great idea.”


  1. How many doctors could be involved in looking at X-rays?
  2. What do doctors currently use to detect breast cancer?
  3. How does the Google Health team feel about their research findings?

“Breast cancer changes you, and the change can be beautiful.

Jane Cook

“It’s about focusing on the fight and not the fright.”

Robin Roberts