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AI Holds Potential to Revolutionize Breast Cancer Screening with 44% Reduction in Radiologists’ Workload

Artificial intelligence (AI) has shown promising results in reducing the workload of radiologists by nearly 50% when searching for signs of breast cancer in routine scans, according to a large Swedish study. However, the authors highlighted the need for further research before implementing AI for breast cancer screening on a larger scale.

The potential of AI in medical scans, like mammograms, is significant, especially in regions facing a shortage of radiologists. Early detection of breast cancer is crucial, given the high number of diagnoses and deaths related to the disease.

In the Swedish study, AI outperformed human radiologists by detecting 20% more cancers, and it matched the rate of false positives with the human group. Additionally, the AI-supported system reduced the workload for radiologists by 44%, as only one person was required to read the scans instead of the usual two.

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The study’s lead author, Kristina Lang, emphasized that while the results are promising, it will take another two years to determine if AI usage leads to a reduction in interval cancers, which are detected between routine screenings.

Stephen Duffy, a professor of cancer screening at Queen Mary University of London, praised the study’s high quality, but also pointed out that the AI algorithm might have over-diagnosed certain forms of early breast cancer.

Despite the potential benefits, further research and consideration are necessary before implementing AI in mammography screening programs.

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