New algorithm could make screening for cervical cancer cheaper and more accurate

screening ai cervical cancer 48615798 l
Bialasiewicz/123RF
The use of artificial intelligence in medicine isn’t just about top-flight university labs and pricey private hospitals; a group of researchers want to use it to help screen for cancer in the developing world.

“Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer to affect women,” Sharon Xiaolei Huang, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Lehigh University, told Digital Trends. “More than 80 percent of the deaths from cervical cancer occur in developing countries. The current screening methods — which include PAP smears, HPV tests, and other tests — often have low sensitivity. That means that a lot of patients, even if they go for screening, have their cancer undetected. That’s if they can have screenings at all, since the high cost can often prove prohibitive. Motivated by that, we saw that there was a call for a more sensitive, less expensive, and more highly automated screening method.”

That’s where the algorithm developed by Huang and her colleagues comes into play. Based on 10 years of work, their algorithm is able to recognize signs of cervical cancer based on noninvasive photos of the cervix. It was trained using data from 1,112 patient visits, of which 345 had lesions that were positive for dysplasia likely to develop into cancer, and 767 had lesions that did not fall into this category.

Searching for visual signs of cancer, the team’s algorithm turned out to have 10 percent better sensitivity and specificity than any other screening method, while also being lower cost. Its accuracy levels were upwards of 85 percent.

The researchers’ work is described in an article in the journal Pattern Recognition titled, “Multi-feature base benchmark for cervical dysplasia classification.” Next up, the team hopes to carry out trials using the AI system.

“There has been massive growth in AI technologies, especially over the past five or six years,” Huang said. “For example, we’ve seen a big increase in the recognition accuracy of image recognition systems. That’s very useful for medicine, which is what I’ve been working on. With recent developments, these tools are really starting to reach a point where they could be used in clinical settings. At the same time, there’s been more acceptance from clinicians and the general population about AI assisting with medicine.”

Smart Home

The Google Home Hub doesn’t have a camera. Here’s why that’s a good thing

Bucking the smart display trend, Google's new $149 Home Hub smart display surprisingly doesn't have a camera. We think a camera-less Google smart speaker with a screen is a good thing, and here's why.
Mobile

The best Pixel 3 screen protectors to keep your phone Pixel perfect

The Pixel 3 is equipped with the hottest hardware and a beautiful 5.5-inch P-OLED display protected by Gorilla Glass 5. But it's not invincible. Here are the best Pixel 3 screen protectors to keep it safe.
Product Review

Razer Phone 2 fixes everything wrong with the original

The Razer Phone had a great screen, strong speakers, powerful performance, but a mediocre camera, no water resistance, and a high price. With the Razer Phone 2, Razer has improved on the predecessor in every way.
Product Review

Google cares, so it made sure the Home Hub doesn’t scare

Google’s newest smart home device has a screen, but it avoids the other feature that usually accompanies one — a camera. In an effort to make the Home Hub more friendly and attractive to the privacy-minded, it shutters a shutter and…
Emerging Tech

Check out the British Army’s beefy new bomb-disposal robot

The British Army is about to get an impressive new explosive ordnance disposal robot that is able to climb stairs, negotiate slopes, cut wires, and … oh, yes, dispose of bombs, too.
Emerging Tech

Kill it before it lays eggs! Crazy 32-leg robot moves like a cyborg sea urchin

We’ve seen one-legged, two-legged, four-legged and even six-legged robots, but researchers from Japan have gone way, way further with their latest project: A 32-legged robot. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Will we ever fly supersonic again? Unraveling the concorde’s complex legacy

In a new book, Last Days of the Concorde, journalist and author Samme Chittum delves into the mindset that inspired engineers to design this marvel, the series of events that led to its fatal crash, and the possibility that commercial SSTs…
Emerging Tech

Leafy greens are grown by machines at new, automated Silicon Valley farm

Farming hasn't changed too much for hundreds of years. Now a new startup called Iron Ox has opened its first automated hydroponics farm, producing a variety of leafy greens tended by machines.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

As deaf gamers speak up, game studios are finally listening to those who can’t

Using social media, personal blogs and Twitch, a small group of deaf and hard-of-hearing players have been working to make their voices heard and improve accessibility in the gaming industry.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Get your head in the clouds with the best vaporizers for flower and concentrates

Why combust dead plant matter when you could vaporize the good stuff and leave the leaves behind? Here's a rundown of the best vaporizers money can buy, no matter what your style is.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Emerging Tech

What the heck is machine learning, and why is it everywhere these days?

Machine learning has been responsible for some of the biggest advances in artificial intelligence over the past decade. But what exactly is it? Check out our handy beginner's guide.